Hewlett-Packard's (HP's) entry into the copier market could seriously hit reseller margins, analysts have warned.
HP is promising customers 30 per cent cost savings with its new total print management (TPM) range, featuring a new copier-based line of high-volume, multi-function printers, including the HP LaserJet 9055, 9065 and 9085.
Vendors see imaging as likely to be the next focus for corporate cost-cutting and are positioning their products accordingly.
Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice- president of HP's imaging and printing group, said savings can be achieved through consolidating devices and by halving help-desk costs through better management tools.
"We want to move away from the reliance on break and fix that copier vendors have," said Joshi.
But reducing services costs will hit copier resellers income, which leans heavily on after-sales support.
Tracy Rawling-Church, head of marketing at copier vendor Kyocera Mita, said: "I don't want to run it down as HP is clearly a successful organisation, but it is arrogant to think you can change the business model in this way. This is erosion of the traditional copier channel model."
HP has also acknowledged that its TPM strategy requires a new European channel programme. Joshi said: "TPM will give our existing channel partners the opportunity to sell new devices. We will also sell direct to large enterprises."
But with HP yet to discuss this new programme, fears are growing about what its move into copiers may mean for margins.
"The printer space has seen a lot of price wars, particularly with colour laserjets, which HP, strangely, has instigated," said Jason Harcourt, senior analyst for imaging at research firm Context.
"It's a strategy that could win market share at the detriment of dealers' margins. Dealers not prepared to compete with HP on margin will have to devise a services strategy to blow [HP] away."
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