The news that HP has bought out Samsung’s printer business has provoked two reactions almost globally. Firstly, who knew Samsung had a printer business and, secondly, does anyone actually print any more?
Where you see these reactions you can be sure that your reading someone with a narrow view of the technology business. Samsung’s printer business was worth $1bn to HP. Not the biggest buyout ever but still a sizeable organization.
More importantly, many people are getting their eyes opened to the world of enterprise MFP and the cut throat battles to win sizeable contracts that involve manufacturers, partners and elaborate tender processes designed to squeeze the lowest cost for all enterprise printing.
MFPs (multi-function printers) have arrived in the enterprise in a big way over the last fifteen years. From a model which saw users PCs attached to individual printers, we now have network printing that is charged on a per copy basis, with secure print jobs, follow-me printing, scan to email, scan to storage and all of the other enterprise features that are now taken for granted.
The value for printer manufacturers is immense. Based on print volumes of many millions of pages per month, earning a fraction of a penny profit per page adds up to sizeable chunks of income. Multiply that by the large numbers of enterprise contracts out there and you’ll see why HP felt they could afford to pay $1bn for Samsung’s print division.
The paperless office is a pipe dream that nobody with an understanding of the way the enterprise works believes in any more. In that light HP’s acquisition makes an awful lot of sense.