With Dell’s new printer range expected in Australia towards the end of the year, rival HP has played down the threat from its arch-rival, warning that the Dell-Lexmark partnership could backfire.
Dell was in the process of customer consultation prior to setting a local launch date for its range of four rebadged Lexmark printers, Dell spokesperson, Nicole Gemmell, said.
While “not complacent” about Dell’s entry into the printer fray, general manager of HP’s Image and Printing Group, Rebekah O'Flaherty described Dell as “just a sales channel for Lexmark.”
“HP has been successfully competing against Lexmark for many, many years,” she said.
“It will be interesting to see how Lexmark and Dell compete on price in the market,” O'Flaherty said. “Lexmark may end up cannibalising their own business.”
Dell’s move into the printer space may have been calculated to protect its PC solution from HP’s recent moves into a more direct sales mode, Inform Print and Imaging Devices analyst, Stuart James, said. “HP is building a PC market around printer hardware and Dell are doing the opposite - PC to printer. Where the two collide will be interesting to say the least.”
“Dell will initially compete on price alone in order to capture market share from leading printer vendors," James said. "Over a longer term, and as Dell's brand name becomes better recognised in the print markets, Dell may provide some threat to HP's main printer business through a combined PC/print solution."
Dell’s attempt to take its direct sales strategy into the printer arena wasn’t considered much of a threat by Frank Sheu, managing director of distributor Synnex.
The expensive pricing on Lexmark cartridges and toner meant that its printers weren’t a viable channel proposition, Sheu said.
“We used to be Lexmark distributors four years ago," he said. "They cannot sell through the channel.
“Dell’s market share in Australia is less than 10,000 a month, and white box is 100,000 a month. Their impact is not that great yet."