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Online or Off...HP Wants Your Digital Photos

Techstination feature for Thursday, December 22, 2005

Online or off….HP wants your digital photos. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Hewlett Packard's most profitable business….is selling cartridges for its ink jet printers. But the company, earlier this year, decided to get into the online photo printing business as well……buying up the Snapfish service. It boasts 19 million members….who order prints through the Web site for as little as 12 cents apiece. One hot and growing category….is the dedicated photo printer business. HP makes the Photosmart 475…..the first model that can churn out 5 by 7 as well as 4 by 6 prints…and has one and a half gigabytes of storage built into the printer as well. The head of HP's imaging and printing business, Vyomesh Joshi….says there has been intense competition leading up to the holidays….

"Some of the competitors are trying to give away…and we fundamentally believe there is a tremendous value in the market. I think we fundamentally believe that we created the category and we'll continue to innovate." Do you expect to be the leader in sales, though, or do you think the price war is going to hurt you with that? "I don't think the price war is the issue. I really believe a lot of times when you give away printers, people never open them from the box. At the end of the day, it's all about how customers are going to use it."

The PhotoSmart 475 sells for about 250 dollars. Four by six prints cost about 24 cents apiece. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.