HP concocts combined printer, PC unit: Does it make sense?

Summary:It's unclear what consumers and corporate buyers would get from a combined HP printer and PC unit.

HP's increasingly commodity business units---PCs and printers---will reportedly be combined in a sweeping reorganization.

According to AllThingsD, HP will combine the personal systems group and printing unit. Vyomesh Joshi, chief of the printing unit, will leave the company. Joshi has repeatedly been a CEO candidate as HP swapped leaders like NFL teams change out football coaches. Todd Bradley, head of the personal systems unit, will lead the new unit.

The larger question: Would this reorg make sense?

From a financial perspective, a combined unit could solve a few problems. Consider:

  • The profit margin picture for the combined unit would improve. Printers are a cash cow, but facing slower growth.
  • A combined unit would hide any troubles with the PC business should it stumble going forward.
  • PCs and printers could be lumped into a slow-growth mature unit that would be easier to separate.
  • Printers and PCs go together and a combined unit may be able to create bundles to entice IT buyers. A combined unit may also be able to drive more innovation between the two devices going forward.

Here's a look at the financial profiles for both units, which accounted for exactly 50 percent of HP's first quarter sales.

Topics: Software, Data Management, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Printers

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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