New options give channel more scope

Hewlett-Packard and Brother have fired the latest salvos in a market sure to be hotly contested in the battlegrounds of the channel - multi-function printer and copier products.

Hewlett-Packard last week laid out its plan of attack for the mopier (multiple original copier) market, appointing Prion Technology as exclusive distributor of its new 320 model.

It has created a dedicated channel for the new product and appointed 17 specialist mopier resellers around Australia as well as the exclusive distribution deal with Prion. HP's national wholesale manager Greg Trigger claimed it represents an exciting new segment in the office equipment market, and that is where the majority of appointees have come from.

According to Prion general manager Michael Bosnar, the value proposition of the 320 will be brought to the market by a team of resellers who are familiar with the benefits of the product and the needs of the office market.

He estimated the business will be worth between three and four million dollars in the first year.

"We will initially focus on the first 17 resellers, but more will be added," Bosnar said. "We are limited by how many we can effectively support in this specialist product area."

He added that Prion has appointed its own mopier product specialist with 15 years experience selling copiers.

In a glamorous harbour-side function in front of Sydney Opera House, office equipment specialist Brother relaunched its "multi-function category" - the Brother 7160 C and 6650 multi-function centre products.

The MFC 7160 C is described as having eight independent facilities: colour printer, colour scanner, colour copier, plain paper fax, PC fax, telephone, digital answering machine and video capture printer. Its RRP is $1099.

The MFC 6650, which includes a 6ppm laser printer, will carry a retail price of $1399. The copier, fax, phone, answering system and video capture will operate completely independently of the PC.

Great opportunity

George Nawa, director of corporate planning and marketing at Brother International Australia, said there is a great opportunity for resellers to capitalise on the US trend towards the MFC products.

"They are ideal for home offices, while also being suitable for home use by executives of large organisations."

The key feature of the new MFC products from Brother may well be the price point, especially given the eight functions.