The Distributor vs. the Innovator

(left) Vyomesh Joshi, the executive vice president in charge of Hewlett-Packard’s imaging and printing group, says the printing of digital photos is a growing market for H-P.
HP is worried about Dell plain and simple. Printers, did take innovation to get us to the point we are at now. But now that printers ARE a commodity, Dell will have no trouble beating or at least matching HP in the printing business using PRICE as a winning factor.
For innovation – they have partnered with Lexmark. So that they’ve got covered.
The NY Times writes, in an extensive article The biggest mistake I’ve made,” confesses Michael S. Dell, the 39-year-old founder and chief executive of the fleet front-runner among personal computer makers, “was not getting into printers sooner.”
Lately, Dell Inc. has been making up for lost time. Since it started selling Dell-branded printers a little over a year ago, shipments have risen at an encouragingly rapid pace. Mr. Dell predicts “tremendous growth” for his company’s computer printer business over the next 5 to 10 years and vows to change the economics of the industry. Tomorrow, Dell plans to announce that it will begin selling printers for the corporate and home market that it claims will reduce the cost of some printing jobs by 30 percent or more.
Such talk sets Carleton S. Fiorina, the 49-year-old chief executive of the Hewlett-Packard Company, the powerhouse of the printing business, on edge. She regards Dell’s declared ambitions as an irritating blend of hubris and hot air. Ms. Fiorina notes that her company’s printers and cartridges, especially the inkjet printheads – clusters of nozzles, each smaller than a human hair, spurting out millions of superheated droplets a second – are the result of two decades of sophisticated semiconductor and nanotechnology research.
“Somebody doesn’t just come along, particularly a company that is not an innovator, and say, ‘We’re going to do it better,’ ” Ms. Fiorina said. “Dell isn’t doing anything. It’s just distributing other people’s products.”