HP prepares for fight to the death with Xerox

HP has pitched itself in a fierce battle against arch-rival Xerox with a copycat printer strategy aimed squarely at the commercial print market - Xerox's last market stronghold.

HP has pitched itself in a fierce battle against arch-rival Xerox with a copycat printer strategy aimed squarely at the commercial print market - Xerox's last market stronghold.

The Digital Workplace Services programme will allow enterprise customers to outsource printing requirements to HP resellers, a move that follows in Xerox's footsteps. The new model has been dubbed PSP - Print Service Provider - and will see HP leasing equipment to customers for a yearly fee, based on an estimated number of print jobs. The company will also provide complete management, maintenance and support services. The technology will be developed to incorporate document binding at the desktop stage, allowing customers to bypass commercial printers, according to Peter Urey, UK hardcopy manager at HP. While HP holds pole position in the desktop printing market, Xerox controls the lucractive commercial market. Urey told silicon.com: "Xerox owns this market and we are starting from zero, but we are looking to take that market share." HP hopes the model will allow it to improve its "mediocre rate" of cross-selling own brand printing accessories, such as paper trays and toner. Mick Heys, research analyst at IDC, said HP is making a shrewd move. He said: "Leased equipment bundled with services, especially taking on maintenance of other vendors machines, is a good way of getting into an account and keeping that account." The project has been trialled with customers over the past year. While current customers are still in single digits, HP say it hopes to clinch up to ten major deals over the next year.