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Saturday, October 4, 2014

#HP $HPQ to Cull PC's & Printers: New Company Called, "HP, Inc." - Get It?

"Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks
Had I from old and young !
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung."
--- Coleridge

In 1991 Lexmark was formed when IBM divested its printer and printer supply operations to an investment firm. On November 15, 1995, Lexmark was publicly traded .  Today the company is trading at $41.59 has a revenue around $3.7B and about 12,000 employees.  Back in the 90's, Lexmark boasted a revenue of nearly $2.0B.

IBM was in the midst of one of the greatest corporate transformations in history.  The company was in turmoil; internal leadership changes, intense competitive pressures, economic headwinds and a fractured self-image.  They didn't know who they were, what they did or how to do whatever it was they were going to do, better.
Crazy times, the 90's.

Today, another great technology firm finds herself in the throws of transformation - HP offers everything from servers, clouds, PC's, laptops, printers, supplies and services. But its not enough.  More accurately, its just too much. What IBM grew through, HP is now experiencing - you can't be everything to everyone.  If that were all, it would be bad enough, but its worse.  HP, Microsoft and the rest of the WinTel realm can no longer dictate demand. Their rule is not as relevant as in the past.

Take printers, for example.  HP brought the laser printer into the business world and for a decade or two, HP was synonymous with printing.  But in 2007, the winds of change were upon us.  No matter how much marketing tries to accentuate the shift from toner to ink, black and white to color, desktop to mobile, hard copy print will never rebound;  sinking more resources against the tide is folly.

What made HP great, is holding her back.  Print is the albatross.

Some will herald the move as great strategy - it might be - for sure, this is a responsive tact, not one that bends the market to HP's will.

Nothing, not even the company who brought the laser printer to nearly every desktop in the land, can reverse the trend.  Printing is dying.  Not because we've all decided to stop killing trees, or understand printing decreases the ozone layer or bringing on the next ice age.  HP is a victim of the shift in How We Work:

  • No more desktop PCs
  • No more servers
  • Fewer laptops
  • We do not print the same
  • We communicate differently
  • Fewer printers
  • Almost no copiers

Today, we communicate under glass more than ever before. Generations of young adults live in a world without PC's, rotary phones, black and white TV, newspaper delivery or a printer.  Like generations before them understood life with electricity, they've never known a world without the internet.  Why in the world would they ever want or need to print anything?  Why?  Ask them.

Tablets, smart phones and new workflows, oh my.
"No one in the printing industry, or outside it, had any idea that the iPad would come along and destroy three- to four-thousand-year-old human traditions concerning paper," explained Gary Peterson, chief executive at Gap Intelligence, a San Diego-based research analysis firm.
No one except

In light of this expected turn, to all the paperless deniers, I ask this:


  • Why did International Paper shutter it's biggest, 8.5x11 sized paper producing plant if print volumes are increasing?
  • Why did HP layoff 40,000 employees when the second coming, mobil print or ink, is just around the corner?  Think of layoffs as The Rapture.
  • Why is less than half of Xerox's revenue generated through equipment sales?
  • Why would a leading copier manufacturer build an erasable copier?
  • Even without printing capabilities, Apple still sold more than a dozen iPads

"HP profits are reliant on selling "consumables" like inkjet cartridges, so the company can't be eager to see that business sidelined by the new prominence of tablets and smartphones. Even though mobile device make it easier to skip the printer in some cases, for example with electronic boarding passes and mapping apps, McCoog doesn't see printing as an endangered business.
Yeah, right.

What does this mean to all of you selling copiers and MpS?  Keep doing what you're doing, your resume clean and enhance your PERSONAL ACUMEN every day.  The change isn't coming, it is already here and you've got to improve yourself beyond the box and away from marks on paper.

Perhaps two decades from today, we'll look back and remember how HP built a great print business, sold it off and turned into the technology powerhouse Bill and Dave envisioned.

1991 -

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