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HP To Combine PC, Printer Divisions

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed-something-something dept.

Businesses 142

itwbennett writes "Apotheker wanted to sell off HP's PC division, Whitman vowed not to, and now HP is combining the PC division with the printer division in an effort to cut costs, unnamed sources told the All Things D blog. Given that both divisions reported declining sales last quarter, is HP hoping that two wrongs make a right?"

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What's next? Free printer with every ink purchase (5, Funny)

netsavior (627338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425615)

Oh wait, they already do that.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (2)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425649)

PC with built in printer. Just one unit, hopefully it will be a laser printer cause if its not you'll be stuck with a useless printer module in your PC for however long it lasts.

Never had a HP inkjet that lasted longer than the first set of cartridges

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (3, Interesting)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426573)

This actually might not be a bad idea. If we could apply the miniaturization craze to printers that has been used on computers, maybe we could end up with a laptop that can spit out hard copies on request. Obviously it wouldn't have a huge reserve of blank paper, but for things like a boarding pass, movie ticket, or even just a quick print of the photo you just took, this could prove to be a useful idea. As small as current gen laptops have gotten I think you could combine one with a printer (and scanner too) without exceeding the 'reasonable to carry in a shoulder bag' size limit.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427349)

Back in the day, Sony had some hideously expensive dye sublimation printers that were only slightly larger than the 4x6s they were capable of printing.

More recently, the sad, pitiful Ghost of Polaroid Future has been flogging a few products based on the 'zink'('zero ink' because we built the proprietary ink right into the proprietary paper!) based products of similarly miniature persuasion.

In the black-and-white world, Zebra and friends have had ruggedized and portable thermal label printers with varying levels of built-in logic(anywhere from a keypad and the ability to accept short strings up to a wireless WinCE PDA that plugs right into your warehouse logistics database thing and prints labels based on a combination of what the warehouse guy just scanned and what the database says about where that box should be going. Not terribly general purpose, the sort of thing that would come with an integration contract; but pretty cute).

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427551)

Canon NoteJet 486 [nytimes.com] . It even offered an "optional facsimile modem."

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428087)

I think it's a completely BAD idea. I chose my notebook because it was small and light, yet had a big enough screen. Paper is bulky and heavy, and I don't often print anything at all, even at work.

And despite the added size and weight, even with a desktop it's a dumb idea. Printers have too many moving parts and break too easily. It's like a VCR/TV combo; the VCR will die years before the TV part does.

I do think incorporating the computer and screen in one enclosure would be a good ides -- oh wait, that's called a "tablet" and they already have them.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (2)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426657)

Remember when some CRT TVs had integrated VHS decks? I hated those things. So cheap. So ugly.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428177)

So useless if the screen failed, which was quite likely since putting the two components together indicated that both were likely of poor quality.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428153)

I did, but not since the 870C and 1600C were current models.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (5, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425675)

No, but the power supplies will have chips in them that run out every 6 months, and you'll have to get a replacement - which costs about 75% of the cost of a new machine.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425727)

That is actually a part of their corporate philanthropy policy: By setting the price of their printers at approximately what they are worth, rather than their cost of production, and the price of their ink as though it were FDA-approved for human surgical applications, HP has contributed more free steppers and sensors to the hobbyist robotics community than just about anybody else...

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39427761)

That was before they started using standard dc motors with optical encoders some years ago, and their steppers where the 7.2 anyway. But yes, salvaging old hp printers where a good source of steppers.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425871)

I don't know what the revenue breakdown is between consumer and pro markets, but HP's printer division also produces really high-end devices. The sorts of printers that print huge banners and posters - they'll take paper a couple of metres wide and of any length. These are really expensive, but you buy the ink in huge bottles for about the same price as a tiny cartridge for their consumer printers.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (2, Insightful)

sigxcpu (456479) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426055)

That's because they assume that unlike consumers, professionals factor the price of consumables into the buying decision.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426711)

more likely it is because these things are always purchased with corporate HP support contracts, which are the "ink cartridges" of the business world.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (2)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426777)

Actually, if you price them out, the commercial supplies come in at exactly the same cost / mL as consumer cartridge ink. I've only compared Canon ink to their commercial inkjet printers, but commercial prices range from about $0.34/mL to $1.03/mL (PFI-103MBK, 130 mL tank, about $45-$140 retail). Small format cartridges, (BCI-6BK 14.5mL, $5-$15 retail), cost anywhere from $0.34/mL to $1.03/mL.

The difference is that a printing shop charges their customers enough to cover all their costs and make a profit. If ink prices go up, so do customer prices. A customer is far more price sensitive, as they see those ink prices directly.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426865)

Make that a 3d printer and the printer could print the pc. Think of the savings in delivery charges, returns handling etc.

Re:What's next? Free printer with every ink purcha (1)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427287)

What if the 3D printer created another 3D Printer which created another 3D printer...

You think Tribbles are bad? Imagine tribbles that consume HP ink everytime they reproduced. The economy would collapse. Iraq would be invading US to get access to a black liquid, ink.

Merging strategies (2)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425617)

HP will now start shipping all their PCs with 32 MB of RAM, but you can buy an additional 256 MB for just $100.

Re:Merging strategies (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425711)

Did you know that using Genuine HP DuraBit(tm) RAM makes your bits sharper, brighter, and 50% less likely to be corrupted? Also, our motherboards cryptographically verify all DIMMs during post, so its mandatory; but we won't spare you the fullsome marketing even so...

Maybe they'll go dangerously 90's and try combining a minaturized printer with a laptop. The kids will dig that.

Re:Merging strategies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425721)

Each RAM stick also has an extra GenuineHP chip that deducts 0.5 MB each time you boot up, ensuring repeat business!

Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425645)

HP used to make the best printers in the world. This is sad.

Re:Sad (2)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425817)

Correction, HP used to make good products period. Not so much anymore... they are simply a commodity manufacturer that goes for the lowest manufacturing cost. Last time I opened up an HP PC, it was like "seriously, this is supposed to be well built?".

Re:Sad (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426063)

they are simply a commodity manufacturer

I thought they were merely importers and resellers and marketers? Are they even up to the level of "box stuffers"?

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426343)

The ones that they still make really well are the expensive, workstation class machines. For example the Z800 / Z820. Zero tool case and they are just amazingly well designed and put together. I have one under my desk at work (along with my set of notebooks). Very nice machines. Their standard line? Better put together than a Dell, but not by all that much.

Re:Sad (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428173)

Yep, even their printers are now crap. We have an old 8150, wonderful machine, built to outlast the cockroaches after Armageddon. we also have a relatively new P4515....well, it does print and it is fast. But given the quality of the build, I give a few years before it is a doorstop. The 8150 is over 10 years old.

Re:Sad (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425873)

HP still makes some of the best printers in the world. The difference is that they now also make a load of cheap consumer crap.

Re:Sad (3, Insightful)

Pewpdaddy (1364159) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426287)

I agree, their commercial offerings are still real printers. But the consumer side is a nightmare. I wonder how they justify a 300mb driver install in a consumer machine when you compare it to a 90mb install for a commercial plotter printer? Not to mention that the aforementioned 300mb driver install takes nearly an hour when AV is active.

Re:Sad (1)

Malties (1942112) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426443)

And why do they even need a 90MB driver just to send a few bits of information to a printer?

Re:Sad (1)

Pewpdaddy (1364159) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426595)

I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt on the plotter, it at least turns a buck in most cases. The consumer products produce prints of about the same quality as my six year old.

Re:Sad (5, Funny)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427637)

you can't print without a driver, tray icon, update app, update app for the update app, scanner tray app, and update app for the scanner app

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39427233)

I have an HP Laserjet Printer a consumer version and I absolutely love it. It works better then any printer I have ever had the quality is incredible. I am also typing this on my HP Envy 15 which I also love. Neither was cheap but both are high quality products.

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426547)

The difference is that they now also make a load of cheap consumer crap.

Yeah, like their servers.

Re:printers (2)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428281)

The problem is that Samsung and Brother are somehow making consumer crap that only costs 1/2 as much. Why buy a HP when I can get a Samsung or Brother laser printer for under $60?

Hooray! (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425683)

"PC Load Letter" will finally mean something! The fact that it means that your motherboard won't POST until you refill the paper tray and replace all ink cartridges with cryptographically verified and datestamped new ones(see also, HP 'all-in-one' devices that refuse to scan if the printer's consumables are not in good order...) is sort of a downer; but at least that puzzle will finally be solved...

More seriously, I imagine that there might be some economies to be wrung out of combining two divisions that both specialize in the logistics of rebadging and regurgitating plastic shit; but I cannot think of a single positive design or engineering lesson to be shared between the two.

Re:Hooray! (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426159)

Maybe by combining the divisions, they'll get actual programmers working on the printer drivers instead of whatever they have no (I can only assume semi-trained monkeys).

Re:Hooray! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426341)

Unfortunately, the printer division presumably has access to the guys who write the printer firmware(unbelievable shit; but at least it fits in the constraints of an embedded device) and the guys who write the printer drivers(unbelieveable shit, and larger than all but the most recent operating systems), while the PC division has the people who write the shovelware that crufts up HP PC factory images(unbelievable shit that somehow manages to bring even contemporary computers to a crawl, while providing ugly, confusing, and largely useless functions). There Is No Hope.

Honestly, they should probably shoot the lot of them and let the beleagured WebOS guys take over. If HP shovelware is going to look like absolutely nothing else on the desktops they are selling, it might as well at least be completely alien in a friendly, competent, and well-designed way...

Re:Hooray! (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427425)

Maybe we'll get lucky and the HP-UX team will take care of it. I've never used HP-UX myself, but an acquaintance of mine recently turned into an HP-UX fanboy after getting his hands on one of their servers.

Re:Hooray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426369)

Well, really it meant something before, PC just stood for Paper Cassette instead of Personal Computer...

Dinosaurs, with Trilobites attached? (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425697)

Desktop PCs and printers:

Buggy whips and horse shoes?

Fat collars and bell bottoms?

Sextants and paper charts?

(He quipped while typing on his desktop PC and printing the morning meeting agenda...)

Re:Dinosaurs, with Trilobites attached? (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426035)

When it comes to printing on paper, you are so so very wrong. The printer will never go away. Paper provides more than just information. It provides tactile touch (psychological), portability, ability to sort, and real life collaboration and communication.

While a form of programmable e-paper that can replace standards sheets of the natural fiber variety is possible (thus doing away with the printer itself), the concept of paper won't be going away anytime soon. And if it does, it's because humanity itself has been thrusted back to the stone age.

Re:Dinosaurs, with Trilobites attached? (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427259)

"It provides tactile touch (psychological), portability, ability to sort, and real life collaboration and communication."

You left out its all-important chimpanzee nipple slicing ability.

I take great offense to your remark about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39427049)

Fat collars and bell bottoms? ...being "dinosaur".

I happen to run a haberdashery in Vegas with a thriving business, supplying all the Elvis impersonators with various attire.

Re:Dinosaurs, with Trilobites attached? (1)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428209)

Desktop PCs and printers:

Buggy whips and horse shoes?

Fat collars and bell bottoms?

Sextants and paper charts?

Obligatory [penny-arcade.com]

I have noticed a marked tendency for doomed businesses to attempt mergers with other equally doomed businesses.
And when it happens I always think of cartoon characters who have run off a cliff grabbing hold of other cartoon characters who have run off the same cliff.

Makes sense (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425743)

Five years ago, HP made pretty nice printers and pretty crappy computers.
Now they make pretty nice printers and pretty crappy computers, but the print drivers are so horrible (and bloated) they might as well give you a rock and call it a printer.

Re:Makes sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426015)

[...] but the print drivers are so horrible (and bloated) they might as well give you a rock and call it a printer.

That last part is only true for their Windows drivers, their Linux drivers rock. Well, at least compared to the sorry state of all their competitors...

Re:Makes sense (3, Informative)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426383)

You can download nice drivers for most printers from their website too that are just the basic driver. I never ever open those cd's they send with the printer anymore, even if you try using device manager to install the drivers off the CD it ends up running an installer and loading a whole slew of stuff.

Re:Makes sense (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427173)

Tried that with the last batch of new HP printers we got. They don't even offer the driver on their website, just a "driver update" that requires you have the software and driver from the CD already installed. We have a hacked together solution based on files from the PC that only crashes our print server a few times a day.

Re:Makes sense (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426025)

I would dearly love to know how you define "nice" as applied to their printers. No better than any other manufacturer - frequently worse - and the only way I can make sense of the drivers is that HP's driver engineers have got some sort of a sweepstake going on along the lines of "How terrible can we make the driver before we start to see significant customer backlash?"

"No better than other manufacturers" (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426693)

That is because they are from other manufacturers. I'm not even sure if HP actually makes the DesignJets any more. And apparently the firmware has been farmed out...there have been a number of inconsistencies in recent HP SNMP MIBs which suggest a possible lack of QA.

Re:"No better than other manufacturers" (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427449)

The Quality Assurance of HP leaves a lot of room for improvement.

But other manufacturers also has problems, so it's not unique to HP.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426263)

If you buy a computer that has crap components, then the computer will be crap. This is where you have to pay attention to things like what chipset is used on the motherboards. I've noticed that the Intel based machines tend to use those low end components(like Intel graphics and networking), while the AMD based machines have had either NVIDIA or AMD/ATI chipsets and generally better quality overall. The same goes for machines you build for yourself, if you buy the cheapest motherboard you can find with the cheapest components on it, then you don't expect a good experience, even if you throw an Intel i7 at it.

Laptops of course are always a different issue, since the cooling solution isn't something that can be a standard for the processor/chipset used. Still, the same rules you see on desktops apply to laptops, you need to pay attention to the chipsets and other components used. If you buy a cheap Intel based laptop, and you don't make sure you get something better than Intel graphics and Intel networking, you should expect problems.

Now, for drivers, Windows 7 has changed things quite a bit, and you don't have the old HP Director/Solution Center for the most part. The latest generation(6500A or 8500A and later) of Officejet printers use a different approach to the drivers, and as a result, things have improved. This all comes from what WIndows itself provides, and you see it across the industry. When Windows didn't support opening ZIP files itself, computers came with WinZIP, or people would download a program to open ZIP files. Then Windows provided that functionality, and the need to add extra tools faded. The ability to scan or fax wasn't really good with what came with Windows XP, so the driver package had to include software to do the scanning and faxing. So, expect that going forward, newer devices will simply just include drivers that support all functions, without needing to include special software.

If you are one of the people who stick with Windows XP, you have to expect that driver support will go away, and then you will whine that HP has abandoned you when it comes to full driver support. You should try dealing with Creative Labs then, and you will LOVE how much better the HP drivers have been over the years in comparison.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426675)

I've noticed that the Intel based machines tend to use those low end components(like Intel graphics and networking)

Curse those "low-end" Intel chipsets that just work out of the box with Linux because the drivers are available as kernel modules!

I'd rather not spend a day messing-around with binary blobs to make a "high-end" chip at least partially work... and even then it might decide to huff and ignore IPv6 packets on the network ( BCM4312 for your reference ). Or interfere with ACPI suspension ( Tigon 3 for your reference ).

Re:Makes sense (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427147)

Actually, our current issues are with new (less than 1 year old) laserjets on Windows 7 and Server 2008 and 2008 R2. The XP machines and older HP printers are the ones with no problems. Now it's hard just to find HP drivers on their own without installing their crapware too.

people still use printers at home? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425791)

i haven't had a printer at home for years now and hardly miss it

photos? - CVS or any of the online places and either have them shipped or go pick them up. $.19 cents a photo can't be beat
if i need to print a few pages every few months i'll do it at work
a big job like 50 pages i'll pay the $7 to fedex/kinko. but i only need that once a year or so

what is there to print that people see a need to buy these things for home use other than for a home business?

Re:people still use printers at home? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39425941)

if i need to print a few pages every few months i'll do it at work?

You haven't eliminated your need to print at home, you're just stealing the service form your employer rather than paying for it yourself...get off your high horse thief.

Re:people still use printers at home? (2)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426009)

i haven't had a printer at home for years now and hardly miss it

photos? - CVS or any of the online places and either have them shipped or go pick them up. $.19 cents a photo can't be beat
if i need to print a few pages every few months i'll do it at work
a big job like 50 pages i'll pay the $7 to fedex/kinko. but i only need that once a year or so

what is there to print that people see a need to buy these things for home use other than for a home business?

My wife is an editor. Textbook manufacturers contract her out to edit textbooks. She receives about 200 pages of text at a time and hates sitting at her PC to read all of that to do her edits. It is much easier for her to print out a chapter, go lay on the couch or bed with her pen and mark up her edits there. When she's done, she loads edits into the PC and replaces the paper back into the printer (backwards of course to print on the back). I told her I might be able to load this onto her Kindle, but she was not interested as she can't mark it up.

Cheap printing still has its place.

**NOTE: I recycle or compost all of the used paper. Please don't tell me how much I hate the environment.

Re:people still use printers at home? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426157)

go lay on the couch or bed ... and mark up her edits

Looking at the cost of paper and toner, wouldn't a used laptop pay for itself in just a couple books and increase her productivity?

Don't make the mistake of buying a portable gamer machine or portable video editing machine to edit documents. Pretty much anything new enough to have a decent display would work.

Re:people still use printers at home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39427199)

You completely missed the point.

There's just something nice about the permanence of ink and graphite on paper. Also, the interface is so much less constricting.

Re:people still use printers at home? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428089)

go lay on the couch or bed ... and mark up her edits

Looking at the cost of paper and toner, wouldn't a used laptop pay for itself in just a couple books and increase her productivity?

Don't make the mistake of buying a portable gamer machine or portable video editing machine to edit documents. Pretty much anything new enough to have a decent display would work.

If she did this for every single page, you would be correct. I did not state it specifically, but she still does most of the editing on her PC and only uses the pen and paper technique whenever she feels like working in front of the TV until she passes out, papers strewn across the floor. Also, she only does a few books a year as a supplement to our income. The cost of a capable notebook would take over quarter of the year's pay for this. An iPad would mean she is working for nothing more than an iPad.

Right now, we are looking at a cheap, wireless, full duplex laser printer. Brother has one for a $100 that will do the job and I think toner costs about $30 for a few thousand sheets. It would take years worth of printing to justify the cost of an iPad or notebook.

Re:people still use printers at home? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428389)

I have the 2270DW and I like it, but it has nowhere near the economy of my old Laserjet 4L or 6L even in toner save mode. The high-cap toner still only lasts about 2,000 pages in toner save mode, whereas my old 4L must have cranked out 10,000 on a toner that had already printed out an unknown number of pages on it before the printer itself failed.

Re:people still use printers at home? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428467)

Brother HL-2270DW. Highly recommended, works brilliantly with my Mac. The price tends to fluctuate weirdly, look for sales.

Re:people still use printers at home? (1, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426167)

there is an ipad or some other tablet with her name on it for this

Re:people still use printers at home? (1)

Ly4 (2353328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427195)

Ahh - the red pen interface. Combine it a bit with sticky notes, and you're done. Easy to understand, easily transported.

You'll probably get a few more posts suggesting laptops and tablets, but using those requires a significant investment in self-training and practice. That's something us geeks have forgotten, since we got past that point a long time ago.

Re:people still use printers at home? (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427731)

Actually, there are several apps on iPad that do this about as easily as paper and sticky notes. Try GoodReader for one. It can even convert text/doc to PDF for markup. It can output a marked up PDF that can be viewed anywhere. Much less training than you might imagine.

Re:people still use printers at home? (1)

Ly4 (2353328) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428617)

The iPad has a real chance at making things like this more 'intuitive', but I've watched my wife struggle with simple tasks on her iPod touch. She's very smart (PhD!), but her mind just doesn't take to working in virtual spaces.

An example: keeping a mental model of location within a document. She can handle that with paper quite easily, but doing it on a computer requires enough concentration to take her out of the original task.

Re:people still use printers at home? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428357)

- Coupons
- Maps (don't use a GPS for various reasons)
- Business correspondence

Not suprising (2)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425819)

The Current HP makes cheap crappy printers even in their business range of laser jets that always have problems. Their PC division makes cheap crappy PCs that are no better than anyone else. Is it just me or do these things sound like being similar enough that maybe they can be formed into one division that makes crappy Printers & PCs? I mean how much work is it to make crappy devices anyways? So cut the engineers in half again by making them work on both... They are already crappy so it's not like they can go much further down at this point...

Re:Not suprising (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426205)

Is it just me or do these things sound like being similar enough that maybe they can be formed into one division

Carried to its logical conclusion, they end up as walmart, merely accepting large shipments of bulk product from china, and they may not be ready to admit that to themselves or to convince their investors they can survive in that big world.

If only they hadn't eliminated all their geeks... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425847)

If HP hadn't more or less gutted itself(between spinning off the good stuff as 'Agilent' and the Carly era), there might have been one thing to hope for:

Purely for the pointless nerd-value, who among us would not smile to see a line of x86 PCs that, instead of a BIOS or EFI, had a firmware based on the unholy fusion of the design principles of Open Firmware; but with an extended PJL command set, rather than Forth, as the underlying language?

It'd be magnificently pointless(as would the postscript and PCL RIPs implemented entirely in SMM); but the world would be a better place for it having existed...

Missing the (quality) past (1)

captbob2002 (411323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425889)

Maybe the printer folks would not be having so many issues if they built the printers like the LaserJet 4 - long lasting and rugged - not like the disposable junk they make now full of even more flimsy plastic and circuit boards that need to be "toasted" in the oven from time to time to keep them working.

Last decent printers I purchased form them was the LaserJet 8150 - even with their tendency to eat low-voltage power supplies (at least I could get the parts to fix 'em myself) First one that was a sign of things to come: HP 9000 - the paper jam queen.

Old batches of Vectra VL420 PCs and Omnibook 6000/6100 laptops lasted forever for us.

Re:Missing the (quality) past (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426239)

are you using HP toner?

years ago i used to have laserjet 4's jam all the time. i was given a tip by the repair guy to switch to HP toner. magically the jams went away.

the cheap toner made all the moving parts dirty and a guy with some special cleaner would come in and clean the printer. i saw the bottle but can't remember the name.

Re:Missing the (quality) past (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426405)

Funny you should talk about HP9000s - we've got a bunch of them here and have for several years, and they are trouble-free (and we use them a lot). I was going to cite them as something really good quality from HP.

Re:Missing the (quality) past (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427827)

The old HP lasers were tanks. There are still many of them in use today. I have an LJ1100 under my desk currently. Have to run it off a network print server now since my new computer doesn't have a parallel port. Ya, it's ancient but it doesn't do stupid crap like a large number of the new HP's. At some point HP when to from a logic in the printer to a logic in the driver model, and everything went downhill from there. A few customers of mine have relitively new HP LaserJets that are useless because they crash when you attempt to print pdf files. HP has known about the problem, but since the printers are not the newest line.

http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Other-Printing-Questions/HP-LaserJet-1020-1022-Kills-Print-Spooler/td-p/29771 [hp.com]

There are tons of other issues with the newer stuff like that :(

Oh never buy an HP inkjet. Man they seem to suck. The 6000-8000 series office all in ones, I've never heard such loud, slow to start printing, driver crash prone pieces in my life, And they die young too.

Corporate manuvering (3, Insightful)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425901)

More likely they are combining their losers in preparation of either selling them to someone, or spinning them off into their own company.

Putting them together makes jettisoning them at some point easier.

Re:Corporate manuvering (4, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426743)

Exactly! Then, HP can make lots of money selling all of those things they make that aren't PCs or printers!

Tell People that they still make PCs (2)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39425957)

HP REALLY need to tell people that they still intend to make PCs via a publicity campaign and it was a mistake. And they need to patch their errant 8M GPU models BIOS (or what ever) so they are not radio crash-able which was the only item that was dud and caught bad press ...

Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426171)

This is not a troll - I actually want to know. I have not owned one for most of the past decade, and do not intend to change that. I just don't understand the point of owning one.
1. I print all work-related documents at work, and my employer provides print resources for mobile workers. That's if I don't just put a presentation or collateral on a tablet and distribute it beforehand via PDF, which is always sexier.
2. There is no need to print photos at home - any print shop will do it cheaper, with less headache, and with higher quality. They'll even frame them and ship them for you for a pittance.
3. With any freely-available PDF authoring tool, I can add a genuine signature to a contract and email it back, bypassing the entire "print, sign, scan" paradigm.
4. For the small-business owners, there are at least half a dozen copy-shops within 10km which will accept your print jobs via email.
So I'll ask again - why does anyone buy a desktop printer? What do you do with them that's worth the cost of replacement parts, ink, warranties, paper, and headache?

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (1)

khr (708262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426423)

I have my own desktop printer at home. I use it periodically, it's a useful tool. Maybe it's not cheaper, and maybe not better quality results than using some other service, but it's convenient.

Most of what I'm printing with it is related to my wife's green card application, lots of forms and copies of our documents and things. I could use some other service, but I'd just end up putting it off for weeks on end with "ug, I don't feel like it today, maybe on the weekend" and so forth.

Having my own printer just means I actually do the tasks I need to do.

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426537)

I went a while without a desktop printer, but I recently purchased a cheap laser printer.

It basically comes down to the fact that sometimes you want to print stuff out and you want it fast. I recently went on vacation and purchased travel health insurance. It was the night before and it needed to be printed. It would have been a PITA had I not had the printer. Other similar situations arise.

>> What do you do with them that's worth the cost of replacement parts, ink, warranties, paper, and headache?

It really isn't a big cost. The printer with starter toner was $40 or $50. I haven't had to buy more toner yet as I don't print that often. I haven't had to bother with the warranty. Paper we have around already and I also have a supply of outdated letterhead from work that had to be pitched when the company moved. There really isn't any headache, and it isn't even a wireless printer. When I want to print, I go to the room where the printer is (I don't have a desktop these days), plug the usb cable in to my computer. Wait 3 or 4 seconds for the USB device to initialize and then click print. *Far* more convenient than finding somewhere to get my stuff printed and going to pick it up. I would expect that with the amount of usage the printer gets it will last 3 or so years at least without replacing the toner. So why not?

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426837)

I do the bulk of my printing at work. I find some material, especially reference documents, is still easier to use in print, because it is easier to annotate (use a pencil) and better for certain types of visual searches (I'm looking for a chart I saw once at the bottom right of page after some formulas, somewhere in the middle of an 100 page document -- it is difficult to find something like that by scrolling through a PDF or searching for keywords). Also, I only have so much screen space.

At home, I use printing for two things:

1. Hard copies of important documents, for example tax and financial information, receipts for expensive items, insurance, debt payment, and other legal documentation. Some of this material, for legal reasons outside my control, is only 'official' in printed form. Also (and this may be unique to me) my combination of poor electronic directory organization, software obsolescence, and imperfect backup strategy means print is much safer and more reliable for those documents that my livelihood depends on being accessible for decades into the future.

2. Maps and event information for concerts, museums, meetups, etc.. I have a GPS, and have experimented with loading this sort of information to my smartphone, but sometimes it useful not to rely on cell phone coverage / electricity / tiny screens, especially if one is travelling where coverage and electricity are difficult to find and tiny screens are wrong tool for the job.

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (1)

happy_place (632005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426849)

HP's all-in-one (Fax/Scanner/Printer) models are pretty decent and very convenient to use. I have one. the trouble I have with them is almost always related to the software. HP has struggled with its software support products since they started making scanners, etc. At work we need scanning to record paper receipts, but we have to turn the poor printer on and off between individual scans, because the TWAIN/USB interface is so bad. I've had countless troubles with my printer at home. It's ironic that the company that was all gung-ho to go into software in the era of Carly still cannot make a decent driver today, after how many years?

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426897)

I have 2 printers...

One Inkjet multifunction that I use to print service calls when I am paged out in the middle of the night. Not having to go to the office saves me about 45 minutes of response time, so I can get back to bed sooner. It's an HP PSC 1210, from before the HP drivers got bloated.

Also one real photo printer, because the print shops DO NOT print better unless you've got your camera set to sRGB jpeg (the default on point n shoots). If you shoot raw and edit in 16bit with a wider gamut colourspace there are a lot of colours in the picture outside of the sRGB gamut. Sadly very few photo printing places accept anything but sRGB, and the ones that do charge many times what it costs me to print at home. It is NOT an HP.

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (1)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427047)

Anyone who works from home. Do you really think that traveling between 1-10km to pick up a print job from a copy shop is anywhere near as efficient as just pressing a button and having it come out at your own desk? And in the US, there are not half a dozen copy-shops within 10km, trust me...and the cost per page is much higher. So owning the printer is cheaper AND more time efficient by far.

Anyone with a small business. See above.

Anyone whose children need to submit homework on paper. See above.

Anyone who finds it useful to print out things (like boarding passes, driving directions, movie tickets, etc.) in advance. Yes, it's a convenience factor. So is an iPad.

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39427053)

Things you might want a home printer for:

Students. Do you really want to run to the copy store before school to print out your paper? If you are a parent do you want to wake up at 4 am to go print your high-school students report at Kinko's?
Rebates. You still have to print those out most of the time.
Tax documents. Not everyone can file using the free online tools.
Recipes. You can make notes and you don't get your laptop or iPad covered in grease.
Coupons. Many are available online for you to print.
Boarding passes. Speeds up your time at the airport if you don't have to check luggage.
Insurance. Many car insurance companies offer printable insurance cards for use until your permanent cards arrive by mail.

I do (1)

coder111 (912060) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427709)

I have a Samsung laser printer/scanner all-in-one. It's useful for printing tickets I buy on-line, labels for packages I need to ship, text I don't want to read off the screen. It's really convenient, and it cost me peanuts, and the toner lasts forever. I can also copy & scan quickly. I used to print maps for unknown parts of the city if I need to go out, but now I have an OpenStreetMaps & GPS in my mobile. Guests who visit me do not though, so printer is useful again.

Ok, I still do print, sign, scan, probably because it's easier for me than PDF authoring. Oh, and I'm quite happy with Samsung drivers in Windows- I didn't get any unnecessary crap and it just works. Under Linux though, splix (http://splix.ap2c.org/) sometimes misbehaves.

--Coder

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427717)

1) Not everyone gets print resources from work
2) While many people prefer old-school, printing on demand instead of making a trip is convenient
3) Not everyone is set up to accept electronic docs. I have had to print, sign, fax several times in the past 2 months
4) 10km is a lot to go out of your way

In short, your life seems to have a natural lack of requirement for a printer. And your built in assumptions suggest that you know why someone might need one, but you assume that somehow your circumstance applies to others despite making assumptions.

My grandparents used to print e-mails and read them, then write letters to reply. My mom regularly prints e-mails, despite knowing they can be retrieved at any time, so they can be next to the calendar. I have an e-Reader, and still print some small documents so I have them in easily accessible form while multitasking.

People buy a desktop printer because they want one, that's your answer. They have processes and workflows and ways of thinking, and perhaps a lack of trying to figure out how not to print anything, that won't necessarily make sense to you.

Of course, I chose a black and white laser printer instead of a color inkjet, so the cost of ink is irrelevant. I don't know what you mean by replacement parts, I will need new toner occasionally but haven't yet. Paper also bought in bulk, not had to re-supply yet. Warranties and headache? Not had to deal with them.

In short, your post is a classic example of "If I can figure out how to live without it, why wouldn't anyone else?" And a few minutes of introspection would answer the question.

Re:Who actually owns a desktop printer these days? (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427857)

My wife prints photos on occasion but I've printed docs maybe twice in the past year. The need to have a printer is definitely diminishing.

hrumph. (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426635)

Having them outsource my job to India in 2004 was the best thing that could have happened. Better to get off the capsizing ship before the rest of the rats have to.

Calculators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426701)

To be honest I could care less what happens to their computer department. Their calculator department on the other hand is what to know about, as HP is one of the few companies who still make RPN-Capable calculators.

State of HP (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39426757)

I happen to work for said behemoth...so take this as you will. HP has a driver that works with ANY HP printer, it is called the Unified Printer Driver, or UPD. Light weight and trouble free...if you have driver problems, give it a try, it will make you happy again. Combining the PC and Printer divisions is not the only changes being made, they are also combining some of the sales forces, streamlining the Enterprise Services divisions and attempting to focus on Cloud, Security and Big Data. I believe Meg has the best intentions, but it may be too late. HP is such a behemoth of bureaucracy and idiotic busy work that I doubt it can be saved, more likely it will be like watching a large air ship crash...really slowly waffling and coming to rest on the ground without much of a crash, or it may crash like an F-16 doing MACH 3 and hitting a brick wall. Anyway, I digress. HP has too many old timers at the helm that won't allow the company to become more agile, they have to fill out form H-1165537u3 in triplicate in order to sell a customer with cash in hand a $400 laptop. I happen to work for the Enterprise Services group and have been working on a deal that is worth $40,000.00 US, and it has taken nearly 2 months to get through the paperwork (digital as it may be) in order to help a customer implement something that will take about 6 days. That is what HP has come down to. Peace & Love!

Re:State of HP (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427253)

Interesting... I've had the, er, 'pleasure' of dealing with a bunch of Laserjet P1102w units which, if sent output from UPD, will not only fail to print; but will actually lock up and drop off the network entirely(the WAP system doesn't even see their MAC as active) until they are rebooted... Only the model-specific driver seems to work.

It'd be bad enough to have a networked printer that can be DoSed with correctly crafted malicious input; but a networked printer that can be DoSed with input from its own manufacturer's 'Universal' driver?

And let's not talk about UPD in a AD-assigned-on-login printer scenario before about version 5.3...

It's too bad. My old 4L, after over a decade of solid use, still had the build quality that suggests small-arms fire resistance and Just Worked on the software side; but things have been largely downhill since...

Re:State of HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39428301)

And how exactly is the customer supposed to find said UPD on that raging shitheap called hp.com? I steel myself every time I need a printer driver from you jackanapes because I know it's going to be a baffling twenty minute project where I spend a third of my time swatting away insulting popups asking me to rate an experience that is clearly, plainly, obviously, utterly shit.

Whitman (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39426823)

Didn't they learn from Fiorina fiasco?

Two wrongs don't make a right (2)

concealment (2447304) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427169)

I've now observed the computer industry for some decades, and I think this move by HP is a loser. Two wrongs don't make a right. If the PC division was not profitable on its own, combining it will only make it less efficient.

HP's PC business is in trouble because the Windows ecosystem is broken [chron.com] . The last HP PC I saw had 2 hrs worth of spyware removal, old drivers, no customization to make it easy for the user, 200 programs in the start menu, and annoying registration pop-ups. Although I will never trust Cupertino, if you buy a Mac you have none of this. Users want stuff to just work. HP's business model is based on selling cheaply made PCs to idiots and profiting from the advertising. That's not a real business model. They need to find a way to make fewer types of machines, and make more of them, so that they can use economies of scale to make good profit. They also need to cut out the spyware/spamware and configure these machines for your grandmother to use them to web-surf, email and word process. And for the love of whatever absent gods you believe in, install Chrome or Firefox but not IE!

HP's printer business is in trouble for the same reason. About 15 years ago they realized that the product was the ink, not the printers, and started selling really expensive ink in cheapie printers because they realized most people don't print much and don't think about it until they have to. The problem is that now the old rule, "You can trust any printer you buy from HP," is no longer true. Their brand is worth a lot less as a result and the new printer manufacturers are eating them alive. Again, they got fat and lazy on the easy money from the oblivious cows of the mid-American middle class consumer.

Someone else here on Slashdot said something that I've known to be true from my own experience [slashdot.org] :

I'm convinced that any project, no matter how big can be done by 6 people.

HP suffers from too many cooks in the kitchen. As soon as the easy money rolled in, they got greedy and hired a lot of idiots to cover their tracks. Now they can't manufacture a PC at low cost, or act quickly, or do anything without 10,000 committee meetings. The human disease has taken over. It takes very little brainpower to make a great PC for $600 with $50 in profit to the maker. If you had the bulk purchasing power that HP does, you could make that same PC for $50. It's a mystery how they're losing money in this market, until you look at how big and bloated HP has become over the past 15 years.

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39427499)

Go to a Microsoft store, if you can find one. All the machines they sell are crapware free, and they have a wide selection of popular hardware. Check it out online if you have to, but I highly recommend it.

Re:Two wrongs don't make a right (2)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428353)

"All the machines they sell are crapware free"...errr...they have Windows on them, don' they?

Vyomesh Joshi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39427741)

I think the cost cutting is the $10 million or so per year that Vyomesh Joshi makes since he's retiring. I think that's a good chunk of savings right there.

Deja vu all over again (1)

hambone142 (2551854) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428369)

Carly Fiorina combined PCs and printers in 2005. Mark Hurd un-combined them during his reign. Now Meg combines them and under Bradley. Bradley should have been fired with the Touchpad fiasco but now heads HP's most profitable division. What's wrong with this picture?

'cause they're the same, aren't they? (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39428565)

We're merging the PC and printer divisions because, they're, like, one product, you know?

They both plug in to the wall.

They both plug into the network.

So they're the same thing. :P

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