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HP looking for growth across the printing market

The deal to buy Samsung gives HP a foothold in the A3 copier space and the forthcoming launch of 3D printing products means the vendor is looking for growth on several fronts

HP expects to make inroads into the A3 copier market as it brings an IT mindset to an arena that has been become fairly pedestrian over the past couple of decades.

The firm, which has a leading role in the A4 printer market, announced plans to acquire Samsung's printer division last month for $1.05bn.

The plan is to take a multifunction device approach to copiers, reducing the components and giving the established printer channel more of a shot at the market.

Speaking at last week's Canalys Channel Forum the president and CEO of HP Dion Weisler said that the copier market was ready to be disrupted by a different approach.

"We think it is going to be trmendous for our partner community," he added that it was rolling out new products, "We have a really disruptive technology that will have a significantly lower cost per page, more margin for the channel."

"We will already have the product available in the March, April timeframe, which is ahead of closing...but we have been working with Samsung on the platform for over a year," he said.

He said that the Samsung acquisition would "never had happened" before the HP split because the Board would not have considered it among so many other focus areas.

"The dollars we spent on the Samsung acquisition, which are incredibly important for our future, would have been spent on a software defined network or something else across the organisation," said Weisler.

Elsewhere on the printer front Weisler highlighted 3D as an area which would start to yield results for partners.

"Where the industry is going is really exciting. It will start with simple parts, like a gear that goes into a dishwasher, or the 3D printer itself which has 50% of the parts printed by a printer," he said.

"We didn't get into this business to participate in what is today a $5bn industry. We got into it to disrupt a trillion dollar manufacturing industry," he added.

From a channel point of view he said that some of the forward thinking resellers had already embraced it to try and get ahead in the market.

"There are the traditional early adopter channels out there that we are talking to and then there's the large system integrators," he added that some channel players were also acquiring the skills to be in a position to serve the 3D space.

HP starts shipping its 3D printer products at the end of this year. The expectation from market watchers is that the muscle that HP will bring to the market will be a major positive for the technology as a whole

Earlier this summmer Context, which follows the fortunes of the 3D printing market, commented on the role that HP could play.

"The 3D Printer market continues to witness a great deal of change," said Chris Connery, vp for global analysis at Context. "Long time market leaders Stratasys and 3D Systems look to overhaul their businesses while high profile brands like HP, Ricoh and others begin to lay the groundwork for their vision to kick-start the industry.”

“The challenge on the Professional side of the 3D Printing market is to see if the entrance of new major players can, along with their advanced technology and promotional efforts, help the bigger manufacturing markets embrace 3D Printing for short to mid-size production runs of finished good parts ”, said Connery.

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