RealTime IT News

Dell To Deal New Threat to HP's Print Empire

Dell on Thursday fired off another round of challenges designed to break down Hewlett-Packard's printing empire.

The Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker said it inked technology agreements with Fuji Xerox, Kodak and Samsung to "significantly" expand its imaging and printing offerings by year's end.

The company is expected to make its formal announcement after Chairman and CEO Michael Dell delivers his keynote later today the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"The importance of today's announcement is around the exciting growth that is occurring in our imaging and printing business," said Tim Peters, Dell's vice president and general manager of imaging and printing.

Peters added that Dell's "direct method of replacing ink and toner replacement cartridges through online orders has operated exceptionally well."

The partnerships add to Dell's plans to sell more than just computers and servers and carve new market share in related sectors. The company began selling inkjet and laser products when it partnered with Lexmark in March.

The push into printers has set the printing and imaging sector on its ear. Analyst firm IDC reports quarter-to-quarter growth for Dell in both laser and inkjet markets, with its greatest impact being in the multifunction inkjet market where Dell has focused its efforts.

The company has improved its market share in the United States from 10.3 percent in the second quarter to 12.8 percent in the third quarter, according to IDC's stats. That puts Dell third behind HP and Lexmark in multifunction inkjets.

But HP still retains the top spot for printing and digital imaging and company Commercial Marketing Manager Rob Wait says the king is not impressed.

"There is going to be too much confusion for customers," Wait told internetnews.com. "We compete with Fuji Xerox, Kodak and Samsung and those guys are out in the market all with different market lines and systems and different approaches. Not to mention, Dell is taking money away from Lexmark. What's stopping them from doing the same to these partners?"