Story image

HP’s conflicted relationship with printing

12 Mar 14

HP derived 20% of its revenue and 37% of its non-GAAP operating profit from print in the last quarter. Why does it downplay print?

HP’s senior managers will tell you the company does not downplay print.

Indeed, CEO Meg Whitman told a Morgan Stanley conference in early March that “(printing) is a business within HP that was relatively untouched by the churn at the top and the drama that’s surrounding the company. It is in some ways the very best part of HP.”

The HP brand is well-known and regarded in the consumer, office and commercial digital printing markets. Yet, in a full day of senior management presentations to industry analysts from around the world last week the coverage of print and Printing and Personal Systems was light compared to Enterprise Group, Software and Enterprise Services.

Now my qualitative assessment of HP’s emphasis on its non-print businesses based on presentations at an analyst event is one point in the argument that HP downplays its print businesses. Consider, too, that CEO Whitman essentially spent more time in her keynote talking about 3D printing than on “2D” printing. And that the same weighting to non-print offerings dominated last year’s analyst event.

And that no mention was made at all about HP’s commercial printing businesses – Indigo, web inkjet presses and Scitex wide format presses. Financial analysts tend to hone in on HP’s printer and ink sales, recognizing the importance of its annuity stream to the company’s bottom line. Yet there was no main stage coverage at all of the inkjet and Scitex presses that drink ink by the 55 gallon drum!

Printing is not dead, not by any stretch. Is it changing, evolving and even declining in some spaces? Yes.

Indeed, digital print is actually growing in many markets, including:

* Cloud printing services (enabling the printing of valuable pages from mobile devices)

* Commercial printing (taking share from offset, flexography and other analog printing technologies) and

* Package printing (no one will ever buy product off a store shelf that comes in a brown box)

HP continues to invest in digital printing including 3D printing. CEO Whitman said last week that HP will soon have an offering that overcomes the two problems she says are inherent to 3D printing today (slow speed and poor quality) by leveraging the company’s intellectual property and institutional knowledge.

HP research on jetting technologies foretells improvements to and opportunities involving not only paper and package printing but also bioprinting, 3D material jetting and 3D binder jetting technologies.

HP has very good people focused on developing, marketing and selling leading edge, quality digital printers and presses. However, HP does itself a disservice by minimizing the role that print technology plays within the company and in its markets.

By Pete Basiliere - Gartner Analyst

InternetNZ welcomes Govt's 99.8% broadband coverage plan
The additional coverage will roll out over the next four years as part of the Rural Broadband Initiative phase two/Mobile Black Spots Fund (RBI2/MBSF) programme expansion.
Dr Ryan Ko steps down as head of Cybersecurity Researchers of Waikato
Dr Ko is off to Australia to become the University of Queensland’s UQ Cyber Security chair and director.
Radware joins Chillisoft’s expanding portfolio
The cloud DDoS prevention, app delivery controller, and web app firewall expert is another step toward a total enterprise security portfolio.
Commerce Commission report shows fibre is hot on the heels of copper
The report shows that as of 30 September 2018 there were 668,850 households and businesses connected to fibre, an increase of 45% from 2017.
Wearables market flourishing - fuelled by smartwatches
A market that has stuttered in the past now has a bright forecast as adoption of wearable technology continues to thrive.
The tech that helped the first woman to sail around Australia
Lisa Blair used devices from supplied by Pivotel to aid her in becoming the first woman to circumnavigate Australia non-stop.
Why there will be a battle for the cloud in 2019
Cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and Google will likely find themselves in a mad scramble to gain additional enterprise customers.
WLAN market picks up thanks to high-end products
Dell’Oro Group have released a report showing that the WLAN market picked up in 2Q18 as 802.11ax saw its first shipments.