HP Launches Barrage Of New Printers

After cracking the sub-$1,000 barrier for laser color printers earlier this year, HP's latest LaserJet product push focuses primarily on the monochrome laser printer segment. The new monochrome laser printers range from the HP LaserJet 1160 with a list price of $329 to the 50 ppm HP LaserJet 9050 starting at $2,799.

HP also extended its color laser offerings with three new models ranging in price from $799 for color LaserJet 3550 up to $3,549 for the Color LaserJet 5550.

Vyomesh Joshi, HP's executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group, said the channel would be at the vanguard of HP's push into the SMB market. "The only way to reach this market is through our channel partners," he said. Joshi said that about 93 percent of HP's North American printer business goes through the channel, but he declined to say how much went through retail and online catalog channels compared with how much goes through the VAR channel.

"A lot of InkJet printers and All-In-Ones are sold through the retail because of the price points," he said. "But about 60 percent of the LaserJets, especially most of the mid and high-end ones, are sold through our channel partners."

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Bob Parsons, president of Automated Office solutions, an Evansville, Ind., VAR focusing on the SMB market, said he welcomed the new printer offerings. He said he primarily sells HP printers but "honestly, it's really tough to make money on them."

Parsons said that with all the fanfare surrounding the announcements, customers will go to HP.com or CDW and the published prices on those sites will set the market price. "We might make two points or five points," he said. "If we are going into a situation where we are controlling the deal, we might make 10 to 15 points. Quite honestly, I make more money on printer repairs."

Joshi said that the enhancements to HP's printing and imaging line would strengthen HP's goal of becoming the IT platform of choice for small business. "HP is the only company who can do this because we offer PC servers, storage and printing," he said.

Joshi said there are no specific rebates or incentives to jump start sales of the new printing and imaging products through the channel. "We believe that [these new products] give the channel the latest and the best technology and solutions with which to differentiate against the other distribution possibilities. Our philosophy has always been more for less. You get more functionality at a lower price point and we think that's what channel partners believe in working with us."