VJ Joshi views the world in terms of trillions of pages of paper to be consumed by printers. He is executive vice president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group, and manages the $30 billion business. Joshi said that 49 trillion pages will be produced this year, and 53 trillion in the next two years during an interview at the Web 2.0 Summit.
"We only have 800 billion [of the pages produced], a lousy 1.6 percent," Joshi said.
Obviously, his goal is to increase that percentage and the Web is a key part of that strategy. According to HP research, 48 percent of all U.S. printing is directly from the Web, and could reach 60 to 70 percent in the next year.
Ink jet will completely replace photo printing technology in the next few years, Joshi said, and people will be able to print anywhere and anytime, from the home, retail locations or mail order. "This where things are going, and it will happen to books, magazines, newspapers and marketing collateral."
HP is seeding the market with more than just printers and ink. HP acquired the SnapFish photo service, which as grown from 11 million to 45 million users, and more recently acquired Tabblo, which allows user to more easily organize and print text, graphics and photos from the Web.
Joshi is betting that with more friendly tools and better options for printing, people will want to print photos in far higher volumes.
"We want to empower and enable every customer so can they can create content, combine it with professional content, mash it up and organize it. Photos are moving in a digital way because you can organize them in a book and share it--no shoebox."
No one is contesting the idea that higher volumes of pages will be spit out of printers, and that is what drives HP imaging business--like cars and gasoline. The company aggressively protects its ink-related patents to maintain the binding between printers and consumables.
"I have always believed that you need to have solid business model foundation. Then it is very easy to figure out how to grow. Our foundation is supplies. If we are true to our message, anytime someone prints, we make money. User-generated content--I love that stuff."
Joshi was clear that investing in services, such a photo finishing and Web-based tools, is not the center of HP's imaging vision.
"We are not trying to be number one in the Web services business. Our business model is very simple--print."
Over the next few years, as the technology improves and books, magazines and other traditional forms of media become digital, advertising may come into the mix.
Interviewer John Battelle asked Joshi about working with HP CEO Mark Hurd.
"He is an extraordinary CEO. As business manager I am empowered to run my business. We are taking the great talent and technology we have and beating the competition, focusing on the customer. We have just scratched the surface. We are taking the cost out and reinvesting."
Spoken like a 27-year HP veteran.