Hewlett-Packard Co. on Monday unveiled a line of low-cost inkjet printers that aim to match the quality and speed of its laser printers as it seeks to defend its lucrative printer business from rivals such as Dell Inc.
"We are introducing a new business printer which will be half the price of comparable laser printers and has substantially lower cost of operation," Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's imaging and printing group, said at an analysts' briefing.

He added that HP, which earlier this year hired Mark Hurd as chief executive to replaced ousted chief Carly Fiorina, expects to double its printer business in 10 years from about $24 billion in annual revenues currently.

Joshi called the new thrust "scalable printing technology," which allows the company to use a unique core system, or "print head," on systems ranging from consumer photo printers to, eventually, large-run machines for commercial use. For example, he introduced a home photo printer that can spit out regular snapshots in as fast as 14 seconds.

"The scalable printing technology took 5 years and a $1.4 billion investment," he told Reuters in an interview. "We have a product portfolio which will...drive imaging and printing growth."


The briefing, where HP unveiled a range of new products, focused primarily on advancements in printers. HP sells everything from multimillion-dollar computer servers, to both high-end and low-end printers as well as personal computers, handhelds, storage gear, software, and computer services.

"The new technology will give HP a long-lasting price/performance advantage in its most profitable segment -- inkjet printers -- and help fight off low-cost laser competition. We are incrementally more positive on the outlook for HP," said Moors & Cabot Capital Markets analyst Cindy Shaw in a note to clients.

The product introduction came as HP rivals Lexmark International Inc., Canon Inc., Xerox Corp., Ricoh Inc., and most importantly, Dell, mount serious challenges to its printer dominance.

In May, HP said it was making some headway in taking back market share in its flagship printer business. Earlier this year, HP cut about 2,000 jobs in its printing and imaging operation to boost profits amid falling printer prices.

Operating profit margins in the printing business narrowed in the quarter ended in April as rivals cut prices.

Joshi, who had previously vowed to regain lost market share, said the new technology will prove to be as profitable as current systems, and he expects better performance to spur users to print more and consume more ink, which drive profits.. (Continued Here)


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