>> but the ink refillers are giving them all hell - taking the wind out of their lucrative business models. <<
hate to agree, but of course this is exactly right.
Lexmark, even Xerox, moving more and more to be first-choice in filling up those H-P printers.
I've asked, on this board, several times if there are any decent plans to fight off the low-ball cartridge replacements. Price war, service contract limitations, new design, better-value (longer-lasting) cartridges, ... anything.
So far, when not totally ignored, the best response is "H-P is the best company in the world and people will always pay for quality". Problem is, when it comes to items like printer supplies (the high-margin cash cows for H-P), most people will go with 'low-bid' everytime.
Our lovely new 5si's are sitting on top of table. Below table are boxes and boxes of 3rd-party replacement cartridges. I don't think that we're special (or worse than normal) that way.
Any ideas on how to fight back and protect this lucrative portion of the business ? After all, somebody has to make the profits to allow the continued investment (yuck) into the low-margin, low-end desktop PC biz that H-P is pushing so hard.
You asked how HP might be fighting back. Well the new series of printers like the 4000 use 5 micron toner particles instead of 7 to 10 used in the competition printers and 3rd party cartridges. The new toner shows up in better quality and better imaging. So if quality doesn't matter....
Couldn't HP be guilty of "tying" their ink replacements to their printers if they tried to use some sort of two-key cryptographic system to ensure all customers purchase their inkjet products? I thought of this before when I worked there ...
Anyway - the bottom line is that when it comes to SUPPLY CHAIN and MFG OPERATIONS and MARKETING - HP BITES ROYALLY! I mean their out-dated socialistic management has no clue whatsoever! They are great at R&D - bringing products to bear - but by indirection, their R&D ultimately goes to the benefit of their competition - who with the tip of the hat, pocket HP's market share. Then they try to outsource manufacturing - but they get reamed there too.
That's why I say HP has no future til Lew gets an AXE and CHOPS some HEADS! Heads gotta roll down before HP can sail up again!