HP introduced several new printers designed for small and medium size businesses at an event Tuesday designed to reassure media and analysts that HP's printer business still has significant room to grow in coming years.
The new printers include the HP colour LaserJet 2600n printer, which at $US399 will allow small businesses to save money by printing their own high-quality sales and marketing materials, executive vice-president of HP's Imaging and Personal Systems Group (IPSG), Vyomesh Joshi, said.
HP's printer group takes in more revenue from small businesses - $10 billion over the last four quarters - than it does from either enterprise customers or consumers, Joshi said during a keynote presentation.
These small and medium-size companies were worried about competing for business against companies with greater resources, Joshi said.
HP thinks its new inkjet and laser printers would allow these companies to generate their own slick marketing material for less than it would cost them to hire a specialised printing design firm, he said.
The 2600n will fit on a desktop and generate eight colour pages per minute, Joshi said. Customers interested in other colour laser printers can choose from a wide range of new printers, including the $179 HP LaserJet 1020 and the $799 HP Colour LaserJet 2800 All-In-One series, which allows customers to print, scan, fax, and copy while connected to a network.
All of the printers will be available around the world, and most are available immediately.
IPSG is the crown jewel of HP's various businesses, accounting for just about all of the company's profit. The group was also HP's single-largest source of revenue in the first quarter of 2005.
But HP was critically examining its printer business to make sure it couldn continue to grow into the future, Joshi said.
This involved recently laying off 1905 workers within IPSG who worked on products or services that did not have as much growth potential, he said.
Right now, segments such as colour office printers, multifunction printers such as the colour LaserJet 2800 series, and digital photography printers were the strongest growth areas, Joshi said. HP's core printer businesses, such as monochrome laser printers and single-function inkjet printers, had stagnated in developed markets such as the US and Europe but were picking up in emerging markets such as China, Russia, India and Brazil.
"We think printing and imaging is very healthy," Joshi said. "The important part is to continue to innovate."