Monday, April 16, 2007

HP Print Leader comments on the competition

In HP's (NYSE HPQ) Friday webcast to the financial community regarding their new Edgeline inkjet print technology, it didn't take long for the competitive situation to come up, once the Q&A started. (The session was hosted by Vyomesh (VJ) Joshi, Executive Vice President and head of the Imaging and Pring Group and Bruce Dahlgren, Senior Vice President, Global Enterprise Business.) Analyst Richard Farmer of Merrill Lynch was queued up to ask the second question of the session, and with it he solicited VJ's view of Silverbrook and Memjet and how he compared this recently discussed technology to Edgeline.
Richard Farmer
VJ, I wonder if you might just compare Edgeline a little bit to Memjet. There's been a lot of talk lately on Memjet. And --
Vyomesh Joshi
I think there's a lot of talk there but they need to introduce a product first. That's how I always think about it. We take all of our competitors very seriously, but they have shown a prototype and we could always show a prototype in our lab three or four years ago. So in my mind, there is a lot of work from showing a prototype to commercialize a technology and actually introduce and get the feedback from the customers. So there is a lot of work to do. But, clearly, what they are telling you, and telling all of us, inkjet is a great technology, and I think that's the clear, clear confirmation that we are getting in terms of where we want to go for high-throughput color.
The second thing, in my mind, is they are showing a lot of concepts. I think they need to focus on which particular customer segment that they want to focus their technology and make a contribution. Because it's very easy to show concepts, but then you have to really decide that, okay, this is the customer that you want to go after and make a contribution. I think in our mind
Edgeline is a lot of hard work and $1.4 billion we've spent on scalable printing technology. This is really the implementation that as I talked about, going from home to small and medium business to retail photo kiosks to large format business now, entering into the enterprise market. I think that you need that kind of a scale, and you get kind of a volume to really have reliability and quality and performance that Hewlett-Packard is showing. So they have a lot of work to do to get that kind of a volume, get that kind of a manufacturing processes and cost structure to be really effective.
Richard Farmer
So, bottom line, you feel like Memjet's very unlikely to be a material threat to your Edgeline business and your other core printing business in inkjet and laser in the next couple of years?
Vyomesh Joshi
We take everybody seriously, so it's their job to figure out how to make a contribution. We focus on our customer.

Later in the Q&A, Richard Gardner of Citibank sought to compare the Xerox (NYSE XRX) WorkCentre 7600 series and Canon ImageRUNNER 5180 to Edgline CM8060 and CM8050 Color MFP models, and Joshi, not shying away from comparisons, suggested he also include the Ricoh AFC 3260!

Good reading at Edgeline Webcast web page, where you can click through to the PDF of the transcript.