HP cuts back MFPs

Gartner says HP’s pullback on multifunction products (MFPs) could drive customers to competitors that have more overall breadth in their product lines.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  May 19, 2005

Gartner says HP’s pullback on multifunction products (MFPs) could drive customers to competitors that have more overall breadth in their product lines. On 5 May 2005, HP briefed Gartner analysts in response to published rumors that it is about to eliminate its MFPs with speeds exceeding 50 pages per minute (ppm). These devices are made by Konica-Minolta, through a partnership HP forged in November 2003. Gartner says the HP LaserJet 9055, 9065, 9085 and C9850 devices (which are, respectively, 55-, 65-, 85- and 50-ppm devices) will be the last Konica-Minolta-made, HP-branded MFPs. HP will discontinue these models after selling its inventory. If customer demand exceeds the current supply, HP will offer equivalent Konica-branded products. Buyers under managed services contracts with HP service will be able to obtain equivalent supplies, service and maintenance for Konica’s MFPs directly from HP. But this arrangement will not apply to HP’s dealer channels. HP will not release details regarding the technology that will underlie its future 50-plus-ppm MFPs, nor will it say when it will make this information public. “This decision is not good news for buyers who recognise the value of consolidating print, copying and MFP spending with one vendor,” says Gartner analyst Ken Weilerstein. “Gartner estimates that HP’s new line of 50-plus-ppm MFPs won't be available until 2006. Many loyal HP buyers whose devices are at the end of their life cycles or contracts will be faced with choosing another vendor that can supply both MFPs and printers or, alternatively, dividing the purchase between HP and another MFP provider. Given the competitive pressures HP faces, if it does not have initial success with these new devices, it may simply encourage customers to opt for more lower-volume MFPs instead of fewer high-volume devices,” he explains.

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