Hewlett-Parkard (NYSE:HPQ) should be sweating bullets, or in this case, ink, as it sees a third problem added to its roster of grief. The tech giant has seen its computer sales decline in recent years, is shamed by the supposed $5 billion over-payment in the acquisition of Autonomy, and now has to contend with the fact its printing business, and the industry at large, is on the decline.
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While printing isn’t expected to just die out, it isn’t predicted to expand anytime soon. Gartner estimates global printer and copier sales will drop to $47.8 billion in 2014, a $2.2 billion drop from 2010. Though H-P has a 40 percent share of the global printing market, its own printing sales have dropped $5.5 billion to $24.5 billion from 2008 to 2012.
While traditional printing is obviated by the powerful, paper-saving convenience of alternative technologies like tablets, e-mails, and Dropbox, H-P still believes there are some emerging markets where printing can expand. Perhaps H-P may yet be able to revolutionize the printing market with its own line of business- and consumer-grade 3D printers in the near future.