Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Handy Industry News Reference

Just a note and link here (I'm adding it to my blogroll on the right as well) to a repository of Lyra Research's "lead stories" each month, since September 2004, from both The Hard Copy Observer and The Hard Copy Supplies Journal.

This month's stories (it's still February as I write this) include a printer and supplies slant, in the HCO and HCSJ respectively, on the Eastman Kodak Company's new photo inkjet printers.

The Hard Copy Observer includes my monthly print column, "Observations", and is available by subscription only for $650/year subscription, so having a peak at the lead story, especially as an archive going back into 2004, is a good thing to know about.

Pico-Letter on Kodak

Gary Peterson, an industry colleague who's with research firm Gap Intelligence, has made me aware of his firm's latest "Pico-Letter", their monthly newsletter covering Eastman Kodak Company's entry into the photo inkjet printer market announced earlier this month.

With their somewhat inverted razor-and-blades model (i.e. higher printer prices, lower ink prices), Kodak has fired a shot across the bow of industry leaders like HP (NYSE HPQ), Lexmark, and Epson. Gary's analysis of Kodak's prospects is my kind of work, "combining historical perspective with an eye to the future". Seeing similarities between Kodak's current inkjet intentions and those of other firms, he recalls some good ones -- Xerox and the Blue Dog, Apollo (!) and Dell.

Provocative reading at the Gap Intelligence Pico-Letter!

Comments on Google Books

I've been following the Google Books controversy for some time now, with mixed feelings. (Noting that it sits outside my general area of interest of printers, but hey, they use scanners to implement it, right?)

The power to search across a broad library of reference material in BOOKS, in addition to WEB PAGES, really seems to bring full realization to the promise of "information at your fingertips". However, I am respectful of copyright and intellectual property ownership, thus the mixed emotions. However, once again, Mike at Techdirt succinctly summarizes the pros of letting Google (or Amazon or Yahoo) take on the centralized task rather than having individual publishers do their own indexing for just their properties.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Market Meltdown

February 27th 2007 will go down as a really bad day for the stock market. This gets a little out of my realm as an analyst, but in the spirit of Blogging (ie Web Logging) I'll post a small table of the day's action for the stocks of some of the firms I follow on more of a marketing/product basis. Hopefully we can look back in a few days/weeks/months and be amazed at the bargains today's dip offered for those of us wise enough to get in on the 28th!

Symbol Price Change Mkt cap
HPQ 38.92 -1.37 (-3.40%) 105.10B
EK 24.17 -0.55 (-2.22%) 6.94B
XRX 17.23 -0.68 (-3.80%) 16.34B
DELL 22.88 -0.92 (-3.87%) 51.97B
SPLS 25.99 -1.14 (-4.20%) 18.78B
RICOY 112.31 -0.69 (-0.61%) 16.39B
CAJ 53.42 -1.45 (-2.64%) 71.14B
LXK 59.84 -2.70 (-4.32%) 5.86B
IBM 93.96 -2.95 (-3.04%) 141.54B

LaserJet Blog addresses Vista Printing

With Microsoft Vista's launch, there has been an avalanche of compatibility issues reported in the press and blogosphere, ranging from minor annoyances to horror stories. As an index, a Google News search on "Vista Bugs" produces 815 hits this morning!

It's good to see vendors other than Microsoft stepping in to help their customers. One example is Vince Ferraro's post today on the HP (NYSE HPQ) LaserJet Blog.

HP's Universal Print Driver for Vista is now available and works with the following:

HP LaserJet/Color LaserJet

CM1015mfp, 1150 series, 1160 series, 1200 series , 1300 series, 1320 series, 2100 series, 2200 series, 2300 series, 24x0 series, P2015 series, 2500 series, 2550 series, 2605 series, P2700 series, 3000 series, 301x series, P3005 series, 3020 series, M3027 series, 3030 series, M3035 series, 3052AiO, 3050 AiO, 3055AiO, 3200 series, 3300 series, 3300mfp, 3390 AiO, 3392 AiO, 3700 series, 3800 series, 4000 series, CP4005 series, 4050 series, 4100 series, 4100mfp, 4200 series, 4240 series, 4250 series, 4300 series, 4345 series, M4345 series, 4350 series, 4500 series, 4550 series, 4600 series, 4610 series, 4650 series, 4700 series, 4730mfp series, 5000 series, M5025 series, M5035 series, 5100 series, 5200 series, 5500 series, 5550 series, 8000 series, 8150 series, 8150mfp, 9000 series, 9000mfp, 9040 series, 9050 series, 9050mfp, 9055mfp, 9065mfp, 9500 series, 9500mfp.

HP Business Inkjet/Officejet

2250 series, 2280 series, 2300 series, 2600 series, 2800 series, 3000 series, 9100 series all-in-one.

Supported by HP postscript emulation driver edition only

HP Color LaserJet 2500 and 2550 series printers, 2800 series all-in-one; HP Business Inkjet 2800 series printer

In the interest of full disclosure: even though I see my two HP LaserJet models -- the 1320 and 2550 -- on the list, before I can do a test, I'm still waiting for my Vista upgrade to arrive in the mail! (How quaint huh?)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Blurb now slurps from Blogger excuses have dwindled to exactly none. I've been anxious to try creating a book using Blurb since I originally saw and reported on them from Demo 2006. Blurb captured the fancy of the Demo crowds with their "old school" approach to modern media and the premise that time-tested things like hard-cover books still have a place in today's world, even when combined with material like that contained in blogs, which otherwise may disappear into the ether. I was anxious to give the approach a try, and figured that the best source of personal content I'd like to preserve in book form is indeed my "Blogger" blog.

Last week, Blurb announced the inclusion of Blogger blogs on their "slurpable" list. So, the pressure's on...time for me to get going with Blurb's BookSmart and Blogger. Stay tuned for hands-on results!

Friday, February 23, 2007

HP Sets Digital Press Records

HP (NYSE HPQ) is out with a press release today touting the growth in pages printed by their Indigo presses. The company is definitely proud to share data about the growth in "digital impressions" produced on their installed base of Indigo Digital Presses. However, the language and the claims in the release are at best a bit unclear. The headline reads "HP Breaks Record for Annual Page Growth in Digital Printing" but then goes on to claim 1) 10 billion impressions in 2006, 2) one billion impressions in the month of November, and 3) year-over-year impressions growth of 40%. It's not clear to me what the "record for annual page growth" is in reference to. I suppose the 10 billion could be say, roughly three billion (or 40%) more than the seven billion of 2005, which surpassed that year's record of two billion more than the five billion in 2004. So the three billion more is a record, surpassing the past record of two billion. Seems like it would have been safer to just quote the number of pages as a record, and not "annual page growth" as a record. There are similar clarity issues as I read further in the release, but hey, maybe I'm just rambling on a Friday afternoon ...

Friday Fun

So it was a short week, but it's still Friday, so time for a little lighter fare. Actually, my friends at Planet PrintMode pointed me to a great post on the PrintCEOBlog called "Introducing The Book" that's definitely a fun and interesting place to look on a Friday afternoon. It includes a humorous but provocative series of clips, current and historic.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Battle for Rochester

Bill Bulkeley of The Wall Street Journal has a GREAT piece this morning entitled "When Neighbors Become Rivals" (sorry, link for WSJ subcribers only) about the intersecting market paths of Kodak and Xerox, who share their traditional headquarters city of Rochester, NY.

A great piece "combining historical perspective with a view to the future" (let's see, where have I heard that before?), it covers Xerox's deal with Fuji for photo-printing mini-labs, and Kodak's recent incursion into inkjet printers. Commercial printing is and has been a big battleground too, but Bill doesn't take things back as far as the foray by Kodak (Eastman Kodak Company) into the copier business. That one's even getting a bit old and dusty for me!

Welcome Planet PrintMode

Welcome to the blogosphere, Planet PrintMode! Actually I'm highlighting two links worth your while -- the PrintMode Blog and the PlanetPrintMode feed. Adam Dewitz at RIT has both going and they will be permanently added to my "blog roll" on the right.

Business Week analyzes Dell

In a BW analysis of what's led to Dell's recent issues culminating in Michael Dell's return to the CEO position, their venture into printers is mentioned. In "Where Dell Went Wrong" BW writers Nanette Byrnes and Peter Burrows comment on Dell's expansion into markets outside their core made-to-order PC business (in direct contrast to advice from legendary business thinker Clayton Christensen). The writers note:
After a promising start in printers, moving quickly to No.3, the most recent quarterly data from research firm IDC shows Dell's market share at 3.6%, down from 6.2% the previous year.

Among other interesting tidbits is the use of the "h" word -- "hubris" -- in describing Dell's over-confidence in their business approach. Highly recommended reading!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

HP Imaging and Printing Numbers

Here's a tabular summary of Printing and Imaging sales and profit figures disclosed by HP (NYSE HPQ) in their last five quarterly earnings announcements. For Q1 2007, it's quite an impressive array of figures, and it seems telling that the set of data points disclosed keeps increasing (missing cells in previous period's columns indicate those numbers were not included in that period's report).

HPQ Falls on Positive Earnings News, Forecast Doubts

After another street-beating earnings announcement I posted about after the bell yesterday, the market sold off HP (NYSE HPQ) today, and the stock closed down over two points today, at $41.10. Just like most times, printers and supplies play a huge role in the top and especially bottom lines, but very little in the Monday morning quarterbacking.

The transcript of the conference call is available online today, but typo alert -- Page 5 states that unit sales of Printer-based MFP's grew at 8% year-over-year, but the official press release gives the number as 80%. (The latter number seems more in line with previous periods' numbers.) Very little about printers in the discussions, although Shannon Cross of Cross Research asked about Eastman Kodak's recently announced inkjet printers (Page 17), to which she got a pretty general reply from CEO Mark Hurd, including the remark that "competition is great" and that HP plans to pretty much stand pat on hardware and supplies pricing relationships.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Home just in time for HPQ!

Actually not even all the way home yet, but online briefly in DEN in time to see HP's (NYSE HPQ) First Quarter earnings announcement cross the wire. In anticipation of a good report, the stock closed above $43 -- only the third time (following twice in January 2007) since 2000.

I'll be in the air during the live webcast but plan to post further analysis in the morning.

I'm especially interested to see how their printing and imaging numbers look, of course! Here's the summary from today's release:

Imaging and Printing Group

Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) revenue grew 7% year-over-year to $7.0 billion. On a year-over-year basis, supplies revenue grew 11%, commercial hardware revenue grew 2% and consumer hardware revenue was flat. Printer unit shipments increased 18% year-over-year, with consumer printer hardware units up 16% and commercial printer hardware units up 21%. Momentum in key growth initiatives continued, with all-in-one unit shipments up 27% year-over-year, appliance photo printers up 49%, color laser printers up 35% and printer-based MFPs up 80%. HP Indigo Press printed page volume grew 40% over the prior year period. Operating profit was $1.1 billion, or 15.3% of revenue, up from a profit of $973 million, or 14.9% of revenue, in the prior year period.

For reference here are the summary numbers from their last two quarters' announcements.

HPQ Imaging and Printing Group, Q4 2006

Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) revenue grew 7% year-over-year to $7.3 billion. On a year-over-year basis, supplies revenue grew 9%, commercial hardware revenue grew 8% and consumer hardware revenue grew 2%. Printer unit shipments increased 17% year-over-year, with consumer printer hardware units up 16% and commercial printer hardware units up 20%. Momentum in key growth initiatives continued, with all-in-one unit shipments up 22% year-over-year, appliance photo printers up 70%, color laser printer shipments up 40% and printer-based MFP shipments up 160%. HP Indigo Press printed page volume grew 41% over the prior year period. Operating profit was $1.1 billion, or 14.8% of revenue, up from a profit of $896 million, or 13.2% of revenue, in the prior year period.

Here's the Q3 2006 Summary
Overall rev +5% ($6.23B)
HW rev +1%
Supplies rev +9%
Total hw units +15%
Consumer hw rev -3%
Consumer hw units +13% with strong AIO
Commercial hw rev +3%
Commercial hw units +23%

Color Laser units +70%
Multifunction Laser units +196%
Digital press pages +37%

Op profit of $884 mil, 14.2% op margin

Friday, February 16, 2007

Presidents Day Break

I'll be off the blogging trail until next Tuesday at the earliest. Enjoy the Presidents Day weekend!

And big week next week, with HP (NYSE HPQ) earnings on Tuesday and who knows what else?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Observations: Making It to the Top of the PR Mountain

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

HP Color LaserJet reports

The HP LaserJet Blog by Vince Ferraro has posted an interesting collection of resources regarding the performance and print quality of a competitive set of desktop and workgroup color laser printers*. This includes four separate detailed reports that go beyond typical cryptic printer reviews.

While not surprisingly (for a few reasons) the HP (NYSE HPQ) printers compare VERY WELL to the competition from Xerox, Lexmark, Dell, and others, the reports are produced by reliable third-party testing concerns QualityLogic and Spencer & Associates Publishing, Ltd (to old timers, simply "Spencer Labs"), and include lots of testing details on both performance and quality that both reflect real-world print speed comparisons (way beyond vendor "ppm"** claims) and the many components of print quality that combine into what real users notice.

* Printer models compared: Samsung CLP-300N, HP Color LaserJet 1600n, HP Color LaserJet 4700n, Xerox Phaser 6350DP, Konica Minolta 5450, Kyocera FS-C5030N, Ricoh SP C411DN, Lexmark C762, Dell 5110cn, HP Color LaserJet 3800n, Xerox Phaser 6300DN, Okidata C5450N, Xerox Phaser 8550DP, Ricoh CL3500N, Dell 5110cn, Lexmark C524n, HP Color LaserJet 3600n, Okidata C5250N, Xerox Phaser 8500N, Samsung CLP-600,Dell 3110cn

** ppm = pages per minute

Monday, February 12, 2007

Xerox Announcement

Keeping the printer industry's excitement alive after Zink at Demo 2007 and Kodak (Eastman Kodak Company) in NYC, today Xerox has announced seven color printer, multi-function and fax products aimed at the growing Small and Medium Business (SMB) market.

The products are a mix of solid ink and color laser, with the lowest-priced among them, the Phaser 6180 color laser printer at $499, well above the $299 "entry" point for color lasers established in 2006 by Samsung, Konica Minolta, and HP, and as discussed at the Lyra Imaging Symposium two weeks ago. The printer, with speed ratings of 20 ppm for color and 26 ppm for monochrome, is in a different (higher) performance class than the other three vendors' entry-level products, at 17/4, 20/5, and 8/8, for the Samsung, KM, and HP (NYSE HPQ) machines, respectively.

A stunning new All-in-One

News from the Barcelona-based 3GSM World Congress kicking off today includes a printing product! Sweden's Possio has announced the Greta, a printer-scanner-fax-mobile phone(!). My friends at engadget and Gizmodo are featuring this today.

Actually the company's "leaflet" (in English) is nicely done and worth looking at. It gives a glimpe into how the company sees this product fitting into the portable communications market.

And the color? I love it! In fact I just bought and installed an HP (NYSE HPQ) Photosmart C3140 All-in-one that came in "Citron" -- an interesting shade of green. It's of course inkjet technology -- Greta relies on thermal printing.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Gray Lady talks Megapixels

David Pogue has a great summary of his work to expose "Breaking The Myth of Megapixels" in the February 8th New York Times. While I don't normally even try to cover the "capture" end of our Printing and Imaging biz, this piece was very much worth reading. Especially interesting to me is his description of his testing dilemma, which he describes in detail.

The essence of his point is that while "Megapixels" are touted among vendors and resellers as if they're a digital camera's ultimate metric of goodness, there are many more important other factors that ultimately make photos good or bad -- and that's just within the camera!

I also like how David using his blog responses to improve his testing!

Friday, February 09, 2007

What a week in the printer world!

As if Eastman Kodak's inkjet printer announcement on Tuesday wasn't enough, they followed with a massive (30,000 jobs) layoff story on Thursday (really a clarification of their past estimate of 28,000).

Marketwatch's blog by Herb Greenberg integrates a financial view of the Kodak business situation with their product strategy.

And also this week, vendor/reseller news from within the supplies side of the industry rose up into the general business press.

Mike at Techdirt does his usual great job bringing together a good summary of the supplies discussion in a platform that provokes a range of comments -- 33 at this count. Definitely worth reading! (And remember I used the word "range"!)

And back to the Kodak inkjet printer announcement -- I found this link to public radio's Marketplace (read or listen to the story at American Public Media's Marketplace). Their 2/6 edition features one of my favorite "voices", Kai Ryssdal, and one of my favorite "observers", Lyra's Charley LeCompte.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Business Week covers inkjet supplies channel developments

There's got to be a bad pun in that subject line but since I've already offended once this week, I'll play it straight up. See Business Week Online for an interesting recap of changes in the inkjet supplies business in the US. As first noted in The Hard Copy Supplies Journal, Staples (NASDAQ SPLS) has a new strategy regarding supplies for printers from HP (NYSE HPQ) and that is causing lots of discussion in the industry.

Learning from the past -- even in High Tech

Techdirt's Mike writes today on "Does The Tech Industry Need A History Lesson? from the looking-back-before-you-look-forward dept" and reinforces the theme of Jim Lyons Observations. Highly recommended read!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Blogs re Kodak

Scanning the blogs this morning I've found some interesting blog posts on the new inkjet printers announced yesterday by Eastman Kodak Company.

John Biggs of GearCrunch takes us to the Feb 6th announcement in his post, complete with photos.

Mike at TechDirt picks up the theme of cheap ink and markets behaving the way they're supposed to, even if it takes awhile. 42 mostly interesting comments by this morning, too!

Paul Miller of Engadget also has a post including 11 comments, that run the range from enthusiastic to skeptical.

More Kodak Inkjet "ink"

Pardon the bad pun in the subject line, but a friend passes along a couple of links worth posting. Following Eastman Kodak Company's inkjet printer announcement yesterday, Steve Hamm of Business Week has put together an excellent piece on the history of Kodak's inkjet program, including some analyst comments and a notably un-HP-like response ("going into a gun fight with a knife"). The web-only features a piece by Ed Sutherland featuring a brief HP (NYSE HPQ) response, and some good analyst quotes from Lyra, Current Analysis, and InfoTrends.

Kodak has delivered quite a story so far. We'll see about the products, but clearly as I've posted about here recently, the high cost of ink in consumer inkjet printers is pervasive in our popular culture, so basing their market thrust on that customer dis-satisfier seems like a good strategy.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Market Speaks...

After the market close today it's interesting to look at the final prices on this day of Kodak's big inkjet printer announcement. There's an old saying on Wall Street that goes "buy on the rumor and sell on the news" which should mean we should have seen a dip in Kodak (Eastman Kodak Inc) shares today, everything else equal (i.e. a fairly flat market, which we had). Well, EK had a nice bump, and HP (NYSE HPQ) and Lexmark Corp (LXK) dropped a bit. OF COURSE, let's not get too carried away with one day's market action!

ExpressJet coming to Boise!

No, it's not the newest HP (NYSE HPQ) Printer line moving to HP's Boise site, original home of the HP LaserJet. As Idaho Business Review reported first on Friday, and then confirmed yesterday, the new (for Boise) airline will offer direct flights to Boise ID from Ontario and San Diego CA.

And back to the HP theme? With major IPG (Imaging and Printing Group) offices and staffers in Boise, and many more in San Diego, this should be a popular HP route. And Ontario CA? It's a 50-mile drive to Rancho Mirage, home to the annual Lyra Imaging Symposium!

Ink Is It?

More on Eastman Kodak Company's inkjet printer announcement can be found in the company's press release as well as their new web site, "inkisit".

Here Comes Kodak

Last week while at the Lyra Imaging Symposium, I blogged about the fact that Eastman Kodak Company was definitely going to announce their new line of inkjet printers this week. It turns out February 6th, today, is when they came, and not the much-anticipated February 8th, which is their security analysts meeting.

CNET and others are covering it this morning. It seems the pricing model breakthrough that is intended to upset the HP (NYSE HPQ) applecart is based on separate head and ink components, allowing users to install a $10 or $15 ink tank in a printer while leaving the head intact.

More as it develops...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Not Too Late to Blog about Demo 2007?

Here it is the Monday after Demo 2007 (also Monday after the Super Bowl) and it seems like it's a little late to be blogging about Demo. But of course it's not. It's just our fast-paced world these days that creates that perception, fueled by blogging and instant opinions. I remember my first Demo (1995) and being impressed at the stream of reviews and articles that didn't end for months.

So I'll be working on some more analysis of the interesting printing and imaging stories from this year's Demo. Zink, by the way, was rated #4 out of 62 at the blog VCRatings. Way to go Zink! Very impressive for a printer!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Staples "Just Shake It" commercial is now available

I blogged about this Staples TV commercial a few weeks ago, in my ongoing monitoring of printers' joys and annoyances as part of our pop culture consciousness.

The commercial's official name is "Muscles" and does refer to ink, not toner, though as an old HP (NYSE HPQ) LaserJet loyalist, I've always found the shake treatment also works for getting a few extra pages out of a toner cartridge, but of course not the whole printer!

Friday, February 02, 2007

More Demo 2007 Notes

Demo concluded last night with the awards dinner and journalists roundtable. As I've already complained about below (sorry) my schedule didn't allow me to be here for Day One or even the beginning of Day Two, so I had lots of catch-up to do yesterday. And I did indeed find some things of interest for my printer / hard copy beat.

Of course the pure printer play at Demo 2007 this year was Zink. Their coverage continues to grow -- my index of interest is Google News, where a simple search on "Zink" is revealing over hits 400 this morning (it was in the high 300's by yesterday). Here's an example of some of the coverage. They took advantage of the Number Two presenter spot on Day One, as it always seems easier to excite the Demo crowd early, and captured a lot of interest in their customer-pleasing prototypes. I've heard many times that camera phone photo printers will take off when the powers that be (handset makers and carriers) make it easier for users to "get their pictures out of their phones". Zink's solution (though of course they need partners to pull it off) prints cam-phone pix AS A WAY to get photos out of the phone. Fewer steps (and devices) beats more steps and devices every time if you ask me!

A couple of other hard-copy related companies at Demo included Ink2 and SharedBook, which I will include in a Demo roundup when I get back to my office.

Now off to Boise!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Conference Recap on HP LaserJet Blog

I was asked to provide a guest blog posting on the 2007 Lyra Imaging Symposium by HP, for the HP (NYSE HPQ) LaserJet blog. Please take a look when you get a chance!

Zinking In from Demo 2007

The bad news/good news for me this winter conference season is that my two favorites were overlapping on the calendar but at least geographically proximate. Last year I covered both the Lyra Imaging Symposium and Demo 2006 and then they were a couple of weeks and a few hundred miles apart. This year, they're both going on during the SAME WEEK, but fortunately for me, only three miles apart, one in Rancho Mirage, the other in Palm Desert CA. So here I am at Demo, a day late and ...

And the big Demo, at least from a printer industry standpoint, was the Zink Imaging presentation from Wednesday January 31st. The company is offering a "non-ink-jet" photo printing technology that can be reduced in size to something as small as an Ipod, and integrated right into something like a camera phone. The video of the demo is available for your viewing. And the bloggers are loving it! Check out Gizmodo's post too.

I will visit them at the Demo Pavilion when it opens in a bit and give a more detailed report. It seems, from the Printer Industry insider perspective, this is very interesting but not without its flaws. It's not particularly cheap on a per print basis (20 cents for a 2x3), nor high quality, nor fast (30 seconds for the same 2x3). To me the real story, is, well, the story. This very sophisticated Demo crowd seems to be going wild over it. More soon...

#3 Most Popular Home Printing App - driving directions!

The 2007 Lyra Symposium is now just a memory, but before I close up the blog reporting on the conference, I plan to add a few more anecdotes and observations from the sessions that I found noteworthy.

The first of those comes from a Lyra Analyst preso that came during the supplies section of Lyra's Day Two. As a long-term printer marketing type, I always was, and still am, interested in just what those throngs of printer owners were doing with their machines. Going way back to the mid-80's and the early days of the HP (NYSE HPQ) LaserJet, business letters were a very popular application. The "big three" from the office, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, and Presentations, remained at the top for years, but then Web page and email printing crept up as popular drivers of printed pages. Just as predicted, "Distribute and Print" trends could be observed first hand from user data.

Of course, much depends on how the questions are asked, but Grey Held revealed the findings of a recent Lyra study of 265 home laser printer customers in the US, during his presentation on "Laser, Ink Jet, and Media Consumables: Analysis of Market Trends". Respondents were asked to identify their first, second, and third most frequently printed documents, and when the three responses were summed, what category was sitting in the #3 position? Printed Driving Directions at 41%! Text documents overwhelmed all other categories at over 90%, followed by email, driving directions, spreadsheets, other Web pages, news articles (which seem like they must come from the Web!), and finally presentation slides and high-res photos.

Actually when I think about our own home LaserJets, this really isn't surprising at all. Still it's great when the data bear out the new realities!