Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Summer "Clip Show" -- Recent Printer Industry Highlights
One of network TV's old tricks for filling the airwaves during less-than-popular viewing times is, of course, the infamous re-run. And I'm not resorting to that for this blog (not yet anyway!). But a more appealing variation is the "clip show" -- compiling favorite moments from a series, putting them together in a somewhat coherent fashion, and packaging them as a tribute or milestone show (eg "let's look back at our first 100 episodes"). Anyway, with summer upon us and a few news bits slipping by, I'm creating my own version of the clip show to highlight a few items we otherwise might have missed.
Shelley Solheim had an article in VAR Business just a month ago entitled "Ink 2.0, An End to Lasers?" that features the Silverbrook Memjet and HP (NYSE HPQ) Edgeline face-off. Definitely very much worth reading, as it includes a very thorough analysis with thoughts from Angele Boyd of IDC and also Xerox (NYSE XRX) and their ink-versus-laser perspective.
One of this blog's other favorite topics from this year is the Kodak (NYSE EK) EasyShare printer introduction. A few weeks ago, again late June, the company announced expanded US distribution of their All-in-Ones into Office Deport (NYSE ODP). This seems like a big positive step for Kodak's foray into inkjet photo printing, as they had only direct sales (via their Web site) and exclusive retail distribution at Best Buy (NYSE BBY) up until now. As far as their claim of savings of "up to 50% of everything...[consumers]...print" they're still going with it, but follow that with the disclaimer "Actual results may vary", in the first paragraph of the release no less. I think that might be an industry first!
And lastly, and more recent, HP (NYSE HPQ) announced two software acquisitions on Monday. Neither is directly printer related, but worth a comment nonetheless. Behind one of the two buys, enterprise software leader Opsware (nee Loudcloud), is none other than Marc Andreessen, of Netscape fame. It seems Marc stands to profit by about $100 million on this deal, which isn't bad, and the company is hardly an overnight sensation. (See John Paczkowski at All Things Digital for background and a great photo of Marc from the past, no less than a Time magazine cover, in his post, "Ops I Did It Again".) OK, the printer connection? As a manager in the LaserJet business at HP a dozen years ago, I went on a small exploratory mission to Netscape in Silicon Valley to discuss printing from the Web. (Yes, this same idea that HP finds itself pushing again.) Anyway, as founder and principal of what was then the hottest company in Silicon Valley, he didn't have to, but Marc himself showed up at our meeting, curious about just what HP could possibly be thinking about. It was a confirming event that kept our small team encouraged, when most wouldn't give us the time of day!