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Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Death of Edgeline

Feb, 2010

I was scrolling through some year-old posts and stumbled upon this one, from Art over at print4pay Hotel's, "MFP Solutions Blog". 

A year later, almost to the day. Has anyone heard anything, at all, about Edgeline? 


See my, historical journey through the odyssey that is Edeline, here


Wednesday, February 18, 2009,  HP Edgeline "What Went Wrong" Art Post 

 I had an email the other day from an analyst from a major printer vendor. In the email, I was asked "what went wrong with this program?" I thought, geez you're asking me?? 

I had done a few blogs in reference to the HP Edgeline after it's before and after the release. (HP's Touted Edgeline MFP's "Ready to Rock"? & Who's Afraid of HP Edgeline CM8000 Series?) 

Here's my response to the analyst: Where Edgeline Went Wrong! 

Maybe I should have named it the Death of Edgeline (arrggg!! Greg Walters from The Death of the Copier already scooped me on that! LOL) HP tried to take copier market share from Copier Manufacturers, even though they put some copier dealers on, HP did not do its homework on the media and finishing applications that end users need (or maybe they did, but thought they could capture market share based on cpp pricing). 

I heard from many reps around the country who complained that there was no bookmaker option, the system could not print or copy thicker stock, no 3-hole punching, Slow FCOT, duplex limitations, limited paper supply, and the weight of the unit. If you're going to attack the copier marketplace, you need to make a copier or MFP-centric device, not a printer-centric device. I have a client who has an HP MFP because they thought they were getting a good deal on the Internet. Everyone in the office despises the unit because it is not user-friendly, I must say over the years that's one thing that the Japanese manufacturers got right "Ease of Use"! 

Hey, being in sales for 29 years in the office equipment business you need to "sell" the salespeople, and get them pumped! The "Edgeline" concept was a good one based on the low cpp of color and monochrome, however end users want more from these systems. They want to be able to print almost anything at any given time. Today's business climate is an "on-demand one", I want it now, I need this ASAP, and we need to make changes now. With the limited specs of the HP Edgeline, salespeople could not recommend these systems to end users and some of the companies that purchased or leased them wish they had bought something else. My dealership (the one I work for) was in business for 28 years not once did an HP DSM come calling on us to take on the product line. 

I really don't think HP understands the mentality of the ITEX Dealer Channel. They understand VARs, but not dealers. Also, why would a dealer take on their product when HP is selling the same product on its website????? 

Dealers need at least 50% MARGINS, in order to "make things happen "offering anything less in this channel and you're wasting your time and the dealer's time. Guess HP thought that everyone should be happy with 12% margins. Is the end result that HP did not know how to sell them? 

Naw, I just think that they rushed the product to market and didn't "copy" how copier manufacturers market their devices. I remember reading something about the pre-launch of Edgeline in reference to HP thinking that they would capture 35% of the volume in "x" amount of years in the ITEX channel! I wonder if that guy still has a job? 

Couple of other items I heard, not sure if it's true or not, the entire Edgeline team was laid off, support was moved to Singapore and there may or may not be a second-gen HP Edgeline. If there is second gen, they'll have to dump the "Edgeline" which will be synonymous with "New Coke", "Ford Edsel", "BenGay Aspirin", "McDonalds Deluxe", "Apple Lisa", and "Windows Vista".....and the list goes on. 

Article was written by Art Post at 2/18/2009 10:20:00 PM Labels: HP, HP Edgeline 

Reactions: 6 comments: Greg Walters said... 

Alright so, first things first - the Edgeline is not dead. Edgeline technology is sound. 95% of print in the world is ink-based, not toner... The MC80X0 unit is perfect when placed in the proper environment...typically not churches, color production or SMBs, or home offices. 

These systems fit in nicely for companies that have a real, honest-to-goodness IT Department, with a CIO. Booklet maker? Blah! how many really use the option? I have seen the same amount of dust on Canon booklet makers as in the 11x17" paper tray. Hole Punch? Again, does anybody, besides schools and CRDs still use these? If it is a "requirement", I just roll cases of pre-punched paper into the service agreement. I have always felt that the "no finishing options" argument were a lazy salesperson way to get out actually selling. I have also felt the "it's too expensive..." argument another lazy sales person's mantra... To date, I have not seen the Edgeline offered on the web, EBay does not count. And even if it is, it's called "value add selling" - nobody can get that off the internet. 

Once the unit is set up, it is Bullet Proof - I have many units in the field performing flawlessly. And people prefer the user panel compared to any other manufacturer's - hands down. Some of the new Edgeline dealers that came out of the copier channel used the Edgeline to spin off other manufacturer sales. And unfortunately, HP underestimated it's current IT channel's ability to actually SELL - not take orders. Also, in the copier world, MIF can be converted over to a different manufacturer - like Canon into Ricoh, over at IKON. HP had no MIF. HP partners had no MIF. HP VARs...had no...well you get the point. I doubt any of them really knew what MIF was... Bottom line: The "problems" with Edgeline is channel/partner related - it seems HP did not investigate the market(copier) before getting in. But here is the rub, HP does not want to be a "copier" manufacturer. They do not want to "copy" how copier manufacturers market - they are trying to redefine the model. And guess what, if anyone can redefine anything, it is HP. HP is the only organization around that could absorb such a mistake. Great Post! 

 February 19, 2009 1:52 AM Jason said... 

Greg, I have to disagree with you on many levels (and agree with you on some). 

First, for now, yes, it IS dead. It's not currently being produced, so I'd call that dead until they decide to revive it. Second, "people prefer the user panel compared to any other manufacture's". Wow. I can't imagine whose control panel your customers were using before, but I have had an entirely different experience. 

Compare the steps to scan to email or clear a misfeed on the HP vs. Canon or Ricoh. The Canon and the Ricoh will win every time, "hands down". Regarding the finishing options, I agree, they aren't that important. And, if they really are to that particular customer, sell them something else. I agree with you that HP is trying to redefine the market. 

I can see some good things in their attempt, but even you admit that the Edgeline was a "mistake". I also agree that HP was the only one who could survive such a mistake and not even really blink. They will learn from their mistakes and move on to the next generation of machines that may actually succeed. 

February 19, 2009, 8:42 AM Greg Walters said... 

Jason - very good points. Yes, no production, and lots of inventory. 

Yes, they did lay off the Edgeline Team and move functions off-shore. From my perspective, I guess I am comparing "Edgeline Death" to the "HP9055/9065 Death". Having gone through that little escapade with HP/IKON personally. 

Again, a failure on so many levels. The next few months will be very telling, obviously, if they don't start up production again - light the candles. 

User Panel - yeah, ok, I can sell the Ricoh and the Canon, and yes, even the Kyocera user panels...but none of them have "live video" to show how to remove a misfeed - my current Edgeline clients/users (100's not 1000's) seem to like that, as compared to their now exiting fleet of Xerox's, Oce, K/M, Sharp and Imagistics. Indeed, I doubt the down-the-street business would care that the user menu on the Edgeline is the same as their fleet of 4345's. 

Specifically to your "scan to email" issue. I have heard this often as an argument against Edgeline and I do not understand it. My client's scan-to-email experience involves, selecting the scan-to-email option, choosing or entering the email address, and hitting send...that's all. And if they authenticate, scanning back to their desktop/email can be even easier. 

Also, I currently advise clients to scan back to their email and then send it from their email at their desk - securing a digital copy in their outbox - regardless of the scanning hardware in place. (Canon, Ricoh, Xerox, etc.) Regardless, the process is almost identical to the Ricoh's or E-Copy machines. Selling against the Edgeline is easy to be sure - which is why knowing where to sell it is so important and HOW to sell it is very important. 

HP missed the boat on that issue, they didn't have a firm grip on the "how" so they struggled to convey the message... Jason, great insight - nice post. 

February 19, 2009 11:05 AM Art Post said... 

I'm thinkin HP needed the video because either jams were so frequent or without the video they would have been next to impossible to remove. Just my two cents! Art 

February 19, 2009 5:07 PM Greg Walters said... 

Art - I was thinking the same thing - if you need to have a video showing how to clear a misfeed than aren't you admitting that your hardware will indeed fail? But- HP studied how users would come up to a copier, see the "wrench" on the display and leave - so often was this observed, the engineers decided to address this issue; with the video. I was skeptical - but after an end-user raved about the " on the screen showed me..." how to go get a jammed paper, and the electric bread crumbs led her to error- she loved it and it convinced me. 

February 20, 2009 12:48 AM Ed said... 

Well, I worked on the Edgeline team in hardware engineering (and am no longer with HP). The Edgeline program was driven by two managers who were obsessed with "grabbing copier pages." VJ had a PowerPoint slide showing the number of pages printed annually for numerous purposes, and on numerous devices (eg office prints, books, newspapers, copiers, offset press, etc). 

VJ showed the slide everywhere he went and began referring to the many copier pages as "the big bar." The second manager was an R&D section manager who was obsessed with building a page-wide array device that could print across an entire page without moving the printhead. There were many within R&D and marketing who drank the kool-aid, and most were "yes men" who bought the big bar dream, even though it had a peculiarly bitter taste. But there were others who quickly saw the insurmountable marketing barriers (channels, distribution, margins, support, lack of finishing partners, etc) and R&D barriers (dry time, paper thickness limitations, nozzle clogging, material costs, etc). But of course, the realities were glossed over when it came to selling the program up to VJ and Hurd. It was a classic case of Emporer's Clothing. 

 The dream clouded reality, big time. 

A few of us bailed out of the team (just as well, as we were "too negative"), and joined other saner groups at HP's Vancouver division. We knew Edgeline was going to hit the fan. Hard. I won't tell you how many millions were poured down the Edgeline black hole. I am only now shaking off the ugly memories and doing a quick web search to read about the aftermath and found most of the comments here to be insightful. Looks look Canon is still going after the big bar. 

But at least they seem to know how.... 


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