in face of HP changes
The sudden departure of Carly Fiorina as Hewlett Packard’s chief executive early in February has prompted some European print commentators and newspaper columnists to question the future of HP’s Imaging and Printing division. Since her controversial acquisition of Compaq in 2001 for $18 billion, different boards of directors have considered spinning off HP’s profitable printing division on three occasions before dismissing the idea.
Making inkjet and laser printers with “cash cow” consumables for a corporate office culture has generated good profits. Some pundits speculate that one of the first tasks for an incoming CEO should be to split the troubled PC business from the Imaging and Printing division so that the inkjet and laser printing business becomes a separate company.
Fiorina’s HP/Compaq strategy led to lost PC market share, boardroom troubles and a reduced focus on the core printer business as major competitors increased their market shares. She also acquired Indigo in Israel, now renamed HP Indigo, which gave HP an entry into the graphics art markets. However, with radically different inks systems and imaging technology, it’s hardly a core HP business and will naturally figure in future rethinks of group strategies.
But for the time being the show goes on. This year HP Indigo will hold eight open-house events at select locations across Europe to demonstrate the digital printing capabilities of the ws4050 press for labels and packaging. The series of events comprises one- or two-day sessions held in the UK, Italy, Israel, Portugal, Germany and France. They culminate in demonstrations of HP’s end-to-end digital printing system at Labelexpo Europe in September.
According to HP’s research, around 65 percent of current label print runs in Europe fall into the short to middle quantity range. Furthermore, the market for shrink sleeves is growing at a projected annual rate of 7 percent, while flexible packaging has an estimated 17 percent share of the total packaging market. As a successor to the ws4000, the latest HP Indigo press features a capability to print unsupported film and foil materials.