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HP Rolls Out Tech Catalog

With IT spending by large enterprises continuing to lag, HP has targeted the mid-market with a new quarterly technology catalog.

In the aftermath of its drawn-out $18.4 billion merger with Compaq, HP will gather together products geared to small-and medium-sized businesses. Customers will have the option of buying directly from HP, a service the company previously offered only to large enterprises, or through a reseller.

"In compiling this guide, we assembled cost-effective IT solutions for businesses to choose from," Robyn West, HP's vice president for small and medium business marketing, said in a statement. "[The catalog] is a resource that helps customers and resellers gain an overall appreciation of the extensive depth and breadth of the new HP's technology portfolio."

The catalog will run the gamut of HP products, including PCs, notebooks, printers and servers. The company plans to mail out 2 million copies

The IT spending rebound has been survey released last week by investment bank SG Cowen finding "no pent-up demand" for PCs and upgrades through next year.

Large enterprises have been the most cautious, according the survey. It reported larger enterprises more skittish about bumping up their IT budgets for the second half of the year and 2003. In fact, the survey found big companies are scaling back their spending plans.

A research note released Thursday by Deutsche Bank said HP would turn to the mid-market through steep discounts and a beefed up customer service network of 300 to 400 more call-in centers.

However, the outlook for spending by small-and medium-sized businesses on PCs remains mixed. Early this year, researcher IDC identified the mid-market as a glimmer of hope for a rebound in the industry. Yet last week IDC said medium-sized businesses joined large enterprises with a cautious spending approach, while small businesses continued to spend more freely on PCs.

HP will need to continue making inroads to keep up with Dell. With its direct-sales model finely tuned, the Round Rock, Tex., company bumped up its share of the PC market from 13.1 percent to 14.9 percent in the second quarter, according to Gartner Group. HP saw its share of the market fall from 18.3 percent to 15.7 percent during the same period.

In the meantime, Dell is prepared to enter the printer market, an industry long dominated by HP. In July, HP reacted to Dell's intentions with a preemptive strike, ending the two companies' reseller agreement.