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Hewlett Packard Co has gone to Houston, Texas-based Forefront Group Inc and has bought the next generation of its internet printing technology for $2.3m in cash. HP has also taken on four of Forefront’s seven-strong team of internet printing developers. HP has previously worked with browser and operating systems companies on internet printing technology – which aims to take the process of printing out HTML pages on the web away from the current screen-centric and content-centric approach towards a situation where users can define such things as headlines, fonts for text, manipulation of content and the placement of page breaks. Forefront, which earlier this year decided to focus on its content management and technical professional software, will keep the current ClickBook and WebPrinter software it acquired last year from BookMaker Corp. A spokesperson for the company said HP would be able to take the technology to a position we could never do. HP says it is involved in the current standards efforts in this area. The acquisition comes on the eve of a major push into the desktop market by Hewlett-Packard Co, which reckons that it is still only servicing some 3% of the market for printed pages. It’s clearly hoping to push some high-end printing applications and copier functions down on to the office printer. The Forefront technology is still under development, and unlikely to emerge in any products until next year.

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