Wednesday, February 20, 2008

- Edgeline -


No Drum
No Toner Emissions
Low Heat
Nearly Silent
No Fuser
No Fuser Oil
No Static Charge...

This is impossible...and yet after 1.4 billion dollars of R&D, that is exactly what we have today; the HP CM8060 with Edgeline Technology.

If your looking for a color system you most likely will not hear anything regarding HP from the traditional Copier Dealers – there are roughly only 30 or so Edgeline Authorized HP dealers in the country today – this will change. HP has added some 2,000 new sales rep’s in the field and HP is attempting to utilize their extensive channel of IT VAR’s in helping move product.

On that subject – if you know anything about HP you know that as an American engineering company they are second to non, yet as a marketing force, not so good. So now you have a machine that can revolutionize the way every single business prints, and only 30 RESELLERS to “get the word out” and start evangelizing the opportunities.

HP is not a dumb company – they are going to go at this market directly and with their most trusted and experienced resellers. (Danka excluded, for another post)

How about a little background on the HP/Edgeline/Copier vs. Laser/go to market strategy?

HP has their sights directly focused on a segment of the business world that traditionally is ruled by the big copier companies – Xerox, Canon and Ricoh. Nobody knows more about copying then the copy companies and nobody knows more about printing then HP. With the convergence of these two functions resulting in the volume of copies made falling behind the volume of prints, a new dynamic is coming to light. Copier machines are connected and working as printers and printers now are scanning and copying. This issue is worth it’s own post – “To Print on a copier or to copy on a printer?” (later)

Anyway, when looking back at the relationship with HP and IKON (yes, there once was a bright and shinny future in that relationship) – HP seemed to be “testing the waters” in the copier market. Looking at distribution channels and establishing partnerships with “leading edge, technology partners”. HP tried and IKON pretty much kicked them to the curb without a kiss or dinner or anything.

The idea was great on paper yet in practice at the field level, copier sales reps tend to take leads generated for HP and “switch” to a more profitable line (i.e. Ricoh, Canon). And even more egregious, some sales reps set-up managed print accounts with original HP supplies, only to switch them out after a period of time, increasing personal and corporate profit. (Please note here and now, profit is good) So as the years past, just about three years, the IKON/HP relationship cooled, and then froze.

Meanwhile, just over a year ago, HP was rumored to have been in negotiations with one of IKON’s smaller competitors, Global Imaging. HP and Global were negotiating a purchase or merger of some sort. HP had at the time, this new technology code named “Condor” and wanted a channel – Global seemed perfect, HP had the cash and Global had the dealer network. Just about the only other company with more cash and as big a reason to expand its channel was the big “X”. Lo and behold, at the 12th hour, Xerox came in and scooped Global right out from under HP.

Nearly overnight, HP had a significant and expensive product with no way to bring to market – after TWO attempts to work within the copier industry, HP was spurned. (Big-time)

When times call for action, look to what you know best – and HP looked at their existing channel of IT VARs. And that is where the channel resides right now. I am sure there will be changes and additions in the near future. (Danka and HP)

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