June 18, 2007

HP Executive Vincent Ferraro Discusses HP's Past, Present, and Future

By Databazaar Blog

Printer Pundits: Vincent Ferraro on HP's Market Leadership, Greatest Challenge, Green Initiatives, USB Cables, and More

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Vincent Ferraro (Vince) joined HP's imaging and printing group in 1983 at the dawn of the laser printer era. Today he serves as VP of Worldwide Marketing for HP's LaserJet Business Unit. Previously, he served as VP of Category Marketing for HP's Business Imaging and Printing Unit. He has also worked in HP's PC and server businesses. In September 2006, Vince launched The HP LaserJet Blog on HP's Web site, which quickly gained a following among LaserJet users, particularly those who manage them on corporate computer networks. We would like to thank Vince for taking time out of his busy schedule to participate in Printer Pundit Week, which we're using to kick off our new Printer Pundits feature. Our questions and his answers appear below.

Databazaar Blog: Given developments like the Edgeline, will inkjet printers someday replace laser printers in the office?

Vincent Ferraro: That is certainly not our intention. The new Edgeline products are positioned above the current LaserJet family of products in terms of price and performance. HP is extremely lucky that we have both ink and laser technologies at our disposal. We can use both technologies synergistically to meet our customers' business printing needs. Edgeline is also a proof point that inkjet technology is ready for the office.

Databazaar Blog: HP continues to dominate the printer market despite increased competition? How does it manage this feat? What is HP's greatest challenge?

Vincent Ferraro: I think there are number of factors that have driven our market leadership. I believe we continually innovate and build great products that have a superior customer experience. We started the desktop laser category in the early 80's and there is tremendous LaserJet brand and awareness and preference, breadth and depth of our distribution, sales, and marketing worldwide.

Our greatest challenge is to continue to grow. Imaging and Printing is a $26.7 Billion (2006 financials) group in HP. We need to be innovative and be creative to grow from this large base. We have broad investments in enterprise, small business, and consumer markets. We are investing in printer solutions like MFP, in-house marketing, and in new emerging markets like China and Russia. It is not just about price, which for some of my competition is the only lever they can pull. It is about meeting customers' business needs in the solutions, services, and products they buy from us.

Databazaar Blog: Why has no manufacturer ever dared to include printer cables with its machines?

Vincent Ferraro: We get that feedback a lot (LOL)! Customers would definitely like a USB cable with their printer, especially in the home and small business markets. Unfortunately, the printer market is very competitive. For the most part, customers have traditionally not been willing to pay for the extra value of the printer cable in the box. That is my take on the issue.

Databazaar Blog: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at HP?

Vincent Ferraro: Always be humble, satisfy you customers and the business will follow — and have a healthy paranoia about your competition.

Databazaar Blog: Your blog post on HP's Universal Print Driver (New HP Universal Print Driver solves Vista Printing Problems for LaserJets) generated a lot of interest. Will this driver eventually replace individual drivers or is it just a short-term solution for those upgrading to Vista? How would you feel about a universal driver for all printers period — perhaps overseen by a standards consortium?

Vincent Ferraro: This driver is already replacing discrete printer drivers. UPD is not a short term Vista strategy but a fundamental change in our printer driver architecture. One driver that "pings" the printer, finds out what the printer is, and configures itself to the specific features of that printer. In an enterprise environment, the cost savings generated by reducing the need and cost for print servers, support, driver installation and deployment is significant.

HP's UPD is a proprietary technology for HP printers. Our strategy in contrast with our competitors who say they have a universal print driver, but in reality just ship one CD with all of the various printer-specific drivers on the disc. It is not the same thing.

Databazaar Blog: HP has unveiled a number of environmental initiatives with regard to its printer business in the last few months (e.g., the new packaging for cartridges). How do these moves fit into HP's overall business strategy?

Vincent Ferraro: We are making lots of investments in making our printers more environmentally friendly and green. It is a major corporate strategy for HP to develop products that are more environmentally friendly. For example, we have our Planet Partners program which recycles toner and inkjet cartridges. Our products are RoHS compliant, meaning we do not use lead in the soldering process any more. Our Instant-on technology allows our products to produce prints fast from "sleep mode," thus saving energy. We default to duplex on in our printers for two sided printing. This is in addition to the supplies packaging example you mentioned. I think I will expand more on this in my blog in the future.

Databazaar Blog: Which printers do you personally use at home and work and why?

Vincent Ferraro: Working at HP, I am spoiled I suppose. On my desk I have a Color LaserJet 2600, I also have Color LaserJet 4600dn and monochrome MFP on the network. At home, I use a wireless inkjet Photosmart AiO and a Photosmart printer. I also have HP 12C calculator, HP iPAQ PDA for mobile email and Internet access, and HP R927 digital camera.

About Printer Pundits
We spend most of our time here at Databazaar Blog on printer gear, but this impressive technology doesn't just appear by magic. With Printer Pundits, we bring you interviews with some of the luminaries in the printer industry — senior executives, analysts, journalists, inventors, and others. Of course, in today's world everyone is a pundit so please share your insights below.

  • July 25, 2007 GEORGE CARRUTH

    WE HAVE HAD YOUR HP OFFICE JET 5610V FOREJUST TWOMONTHS AND AS HARD AS I AVE TRIED, I CANNOTREACH ANY ONE AT HP TO HELP US, GETPAPER LINES UP, MARGINS WAY OFF, AND ALSO MAKE ENVELOPES. HELP. WE ARE SENIORS AND NEED THIS INFORMATRION, AS MY HUSBAND AND I ARE OFFICERS OFTHE RESIDENT BUIDLING AND NEED THIS TO WORK FOR US. HE IS PRESIDENT AND I AM THE SECRETARY/RECORDING SECRETARY. AGAIN
    HELP THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TOALL OF OURE SENIORS AND US ESPECIALLY.

    MR. MRS. GEORGE AND ANN CARRUTH (SENIORS IN NEED OF HELP).

  • July 25, 2007 Databazaar Blog

    George and Ann, please visit www.hp.com for support for your OfficeJet 5610V. The above article contains an interview of an HP executive, but this is not HP's Web site.

  • August 21, 2007 Terry Ledford

    i purchased an HP Photosmart 3180 1 year ago along with my imac. unfortunately, i haven't used it until now. i literally pulled it out of the box yesterday and set it up after spending another $100 on a usb cable, a photo ink cartridge, black ink cartridge, and colored ink cartridge. i printed 6 great pictures and powered down. a few hours later i turned it back on and the black cartridge light was blinking. i changed it to a new cartridge. (even though i had only printed 6 pictures at this point using the other new cartridge). the blinking light has not turned off and the machine hasn't printed anything since. i contacted customer service regarding my issue. after 6 minutes of answering questions about myself and product, i was transferred to someone else. after 30 minutes of RE-ANSWERING the same questions, i was told my printer was broken and that it is no longer under warranty. i explained that i realize that the warranty expired only a FEW WEEKS AGO, but that i have never used it until now. THE PRINTER HAS NEVER BEEN OUT OF IT'S ORIGINAL PACKAGING UNTIL YESTERDAY. she spoke with her manager and the manager said their was nothing they could do. I WILL NEVER RECOMMEND HP PRODUCTS TO ANYONE. I OWN A SMALL RETAIL BUSINESS WHERE I USED TO USE AND PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCT WITH MY CUSTOMERS ON MY POS SYSTEM. I WILL ENSURE THAT THEY ARE AWARE OF MY EXPERIENCES WITH HP.

    why are your printers good for only 6 prints? why do i have to spend so much time giving my personal info to your company, only to be transferred and re-asked ALL of the same questions? the only answer i have at this point is your customer service is fragmented and non-communicating at best. moreover, it most certainly isn't empowered to make sure the customer is taken care of. I WOULD ASK THAT YOU REPLACE THIS PRINTER. AGAIN, IT HAS NEVER BEEN OUT OF IT'S ORIGINAL PACKAGING AND WAS USED TO PRINT 6 PICTURES PRIOR TO MALFUNCTIONING.

  • November 19, 2007 Denny Crane

    Nice job Mr Ferraro, What other companies could I call to get personalized customer service...

    I have an HP 7410 at home and our company has 30-40 - 3800n's in use but don't start clapping just yet.. I have plans... see if you can figure out what my plans are.....

    My home printer sustained some minor damage where the print cartridges are input which as it turns out, makes it unusable.

    I've called your published help lines. Been transferred to Canada (I'm in the US, and am on hold right now,) Spoke to STEVEN in India who transfered me to "his boss DAVID, who has not yet answered his phone but for fun I have put it on hold and let it ring, for fun and hopefully additional cost to you, for this great service, the past 3.3 hours and counting. spoke to Maggie? in US HP office she didn't mention where, but she put me on to a nice gentlement in Nova Scotia, out of all damn places, where I met Scott and he has attempted to put me through to the "right place" and I'm truly going on my 10th transfer another 7 minute and counting...

    This would be regarding one question that I have on how I might obtain a part to fix my less than one year old HP 7410 printer. I am on hold as I type.. going on 18 minutes.. 73 total minutes now and counting and emailing you... It takes talent to create such a large company as to shove it right up your customers wazoo and be so disconnected not only with its customers and its own employees.. haha!! You should try this..haha.. good times!! September 2002 ring a bell!! It's coming.... Really good times!!

  • November 19, 2007 Denny Crane

    September 2002= Stock price HP $11.67

  • September 10, 2008 Charles King

    Mr Ferraro, I have worked as an entertainer for exhibitors at trade shows coast to coast for over 30 years. My website is drawUSA.com Who would I contact to help HP " draw a crowd " in your exhibit booth ? Thanks, Charles King 214-663-2813

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