HP Printer Chief: We Could Ink Jet Anything

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2007-05-29 Print this article Print

Hewlett-Packard's Vyomesh Joshi sits down with PC Magazine's Jim Louderback and discusses the future of printing. DNA sequencing? Videoconferencing? 3-D printing? Joshi discusses each one.

Printing and imaging drive the lions share of revenue and profit at Hewlett-Packard, and the technology has kept HP in the forefront of computing. Vyomesh Joshi has been running the printer business at HP for the last 22 years.

This interview is a composite, culled from both a conversation between Mark Anderson and Vyomesh Joshi, and from the subsequent round-table discussion between a handful of attendees immediately afterwards, at the Future in Review 2007 conference. Read the full report from the FiRE conference here.

PC Magazine: How has your business changed?

Joshi: Over the last 22 years we built a printer business, now we need to shift to a printing business. Just like phones, they started in the kitchen, but today you dont make money on phones.

We are focusing on pages. From a page point of view, 48 trillion are printed a year. Now we measure our market share in pages, and we are less than 2 percent. When you start thinking about pages, we have a tremendous opportunity.

A lot of the focus has been how you convert atoms into bits and virtualization. No one is talking about how you convert bits into atoms. Bits into paper. Its not just from printer to printing, but how to convert bits into atoms, print into paper, print into DVD. Our core competency could make it a very big business opportunity. Not in the creation or the distribution business, but in the content consumption model.

What about the user-generated revolution in content?

Joshi: Theres an empowerment to the consumer to create the content. In broadcast, the editor of the newspaper was deciding what mass consumption should be. Now the consumption drives the creativity. They can share, add, mash it up, and then share that content in various forms. Every camera sold today is digital. People are taking lots of pictures. We are finding that they are repurposing, sharing, adding, and then presenting it in a book form. We are seeing printed books, photo finishing, home printing growing exponentially. Creating a lot of content, video, books, news, combining user created content with professional content, mash it up print on DVD, on paper. In our view it is really popular.

So theres less paper printed, more looking online?

Joshi: In 1984 we were promised the paperless office. And in 2006 we are using 10 times more paper. The information explosion is big, but more viewing leads to more printing. We think 54 trillion pages a year will be printed soon.

There is a limit to where you can take the hardware, the important part is to figure out what customers are doing. What we are doing is building a very simple UI. To design something simple is very hard. Pages will move on the Web, content creation is digital, consumption is where analog is. The user interface is all software. Look at Snapfish [owned by HP]; it is the best user interface for photos.

What about video?

Joshi: I think the whole concept of instant gratification and short films is to tell a story. Go back to anthropology. Why do we take pictures? The real core reason? It is to tell a story. Now with digital, the kids are telling the story; they tell it to communicate to friends.

Read the full story on PCMag.com: HP Printer Chief: We Could Ink Jet Anything Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest printer news, reviews and analysis.
With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including ExtremeTech.com, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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