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January 25, 1998

IS HP’S PRINTER MONOPOLY WEAKENING?

By CBR Staff Writer

Hewlett-Packard Co’s vice-like grip on the laser printer market has been somewhat relaxed over the last few months according to Merrill Lynch & Co’s latest assessment of the market. Steve Milunovich reckons HP’s share fell for the third month in a row to reach 72.5%, from 85.8% last August. Help is at hand however in the form of HP’s new LaserJet 4000, which is now the top selling model with a 30% share in its second month of shipping. In the ink-jet market HP’s share is now less than 50% since early 1996 losing further ground to Epson and Canon. Lexmark gained share in both laser and ink jet markets. In 1997 ink jet units outsold lasers printers two to one as prices of the former plummeted. The bank says laser printer unit volume is declining as the market shifts from personal printers to higher capacity network printers. It thinks lower per-page printing costs from network printers could spur upgrades of many of the estimated one million installed HP LaserJet II and III printers.

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