June 2, 2004 5:16 PM PDT

HP makes color printing push

In a bid to expand its printing business, Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday announced a slew of new products and partnerships focused on color imaging and printing.

HP is targeting both consumers and businesses with the offers, which include a new color laser printer in North America that the company plans to sell for $499. The company also announced joint efforts with software company Adobe Systems, Apple Computer and Microsoft. HP said it is working with Microsoft to offer small and midsize businesses tools for creating marketing materials.

"Three vectors have come together allowing HP to bring a more holistic color experience to nearly every customer: digital photography is widespread, imaging devices are affordable, and technology now can provide rich, powerful color at prices customers can afford," Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's imaging and printing group, said in a statement.

Larry Jamieson, an analyst at research firm Lyra Research, said HP has targeted a fertile field and that the company was wise to team up with software partners to make color printing more efficient for customers.

"People don't want to lose time...trying to create documents," he said.

HP's printing and imaging division is in a sense the crown jewel of the company. It raked in $6.1 billion in revenue and $953 million in operating earnings for the company's most recent quarter. The division accounted for 30 percent of HP's total revenue and a whopping 69 percent of total operating earnings from the company's various segments.

In printing, HP is fending off challenges from companies such as Epson and Dell, which entered the business with its own models last year.

HP estimated that office color printing already represents a $7.1 billion market and that it will grow annually by 20 percent to $10.2 billion by 2006. The company said businesses can save up to 50 percent of their current outsourced printing budget by "going in-house."

Among HP's announcements was a plan to offer online workshops to help small and midsize companies learn about color topics, including methods to develop professional color documents.

New products from HP include:

• The HP Color LaserJet 4650, a color laser printer aimed at small and midsize businesses. It offers speeds of up to 22 pages per minute and is priced at $1,799.

• The HP Scanjet 5590, a scanner featuring a 50-page automatic document feeder with duplexing capabilities, priced at $399.

• The HP Officejet 4215, an "all in one" device with print, fax, scan and copy capabilities, priced at $149.

• HP Laser Specialty Media, which lets customers "reliably and affordably" print in-house graphics and marketing materials "with professional-looking results," the company said.

2 comments

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Smoke and Mirrors?
Your story of a sub-$500 color laser printer reeled me in. What fooled me was that it's not April first!

I clicked on the link and all I see is a mention of an $1800(!) color laser printer.

Either someone was trying to drive traffic to your site or had one dream too many last night.
Posted by peartree (10 comments )
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Great hardware for home office, software needs work
I own a new-this-year HP fax-scanner-copier-printer that astounded me with its quality output and capabilities for the price ($199). So far, however, HP's "Big Brother" approach to software upgrading is leaving me less happy. The master program doesn't offer me a way to prevent it from searching the web every time I dial in and tells me when I'm in a hurry to log off that it will hang a software download that I didn't authorize to begin; it installed its uninstaller icon on the Windows taskbar next to its program manager icon, an inexplicable choice of location for that doomsday function; it causes my McAfee antivirus program to issue alerts saying the program is engaged in activity suspicious enough to warrant stopping it until I say it's okay; and the latest software has a glitch that is causing me to have to use Windows Task Manager to shut it down so I can turn off the computer. The free software which comes with the hardware is a valuable bundle that does a lot of things but HP needs to standardize their downloading regime with what the rest of the world does better. Despite this, the hardware is exactly what I wanted and I'd buy it again without hesitation.
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
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