HP Gets Out Its Sparring Gloves For Page-Share Rumble With Rivals

In a New York meeting with investors last month, Joshi said the company and its emerging multifunction product lineup were girding for a battle with the likes of Xerox, Ricoh and even its longtime technology partner, Canon. “[The] copier [market] is a $24 billion market,” Joshi said. “It&'s actually flat to declining. But that&'s not the way we think about it. [We think,] ‘How do we really get our LaserJet product line and put copy functionality [into it], and capture those pages?”

He said HP will go after page share “aggressively.” At the core of HP&'s strategy is its still-nascent multifunction peripheral [MFP] business, in addition to its growing offering of plug-and-play document consulting offerings for the channel. While Joshi&'s blueprint strategy has met with some degree of success, solution providers suggest there are still challenges ahead.

“I think we&'re doing well with the MFPs,” said Keith Grabel, president of Westwood Computer, a Springfield, N.J.-based solution provider and HP partner. Grabel said, though, that MFP sales in head-to-head competition with copier products do better on a smaller level than across the entirety of major enterprises. Solution providers and other vendors say that while network-capable printers are generally sold to the IT department of an enterprise, copier sales are more often made to facilities&' managers. Traversing both types of organizations is an ongoing process.

“From what I have seen [over] the last three-plus years, winning some, losing some, it&'s more of a departmental play than a big company play,” Grabel said. “We&'ve been successful in smaller deployments.”

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In addition to focusing on MFPs and managed print services, Joshi repeated his assertion that the emerging space for in-house, marketing collateral across vertical markets presents an opportunity where HP can outflank copier rivals. Joshi also has said the company is poised to migrate its new Scalable Print Technology—which it unveiled in 2005 in the low-end of its product line—into higher-end printers and MFPs as early as 2006. HP believes that technology that makes its print heads more efficient and therefore better performers will give it a significant edge over rival technology.

“We absolutely believe that if you build the right portfolio for all the business we want to go after, there&'s a tremendous opportunity,” Joshi said.