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.

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