The Future of Printing (2)
This is an interesting development for a commodity business! HP is looking for ways to offer added-value services. And this is a good shot! It's close to consumers and it's consumer-focused. In this industry you can see others doing the same as well. I'm really looking forward to see where this will bring us as users.
HP acquired Tabblo with the aim of making printing from the Web easier. For example, webpages are sometimes difficult to print (R/WW is guilty on that count!). In terms of the big picture, Antonio explained to me that the print business is huge, but that HP is starting to think in terms of digital devices now - rather than the old model of [paper] pages. So in terms of products, HP's Print 2.0 strategy is about delivering products and services such as the Tabblo Print Toolkit - which enables publishers to provide template-based PDFs of their webpages for easy printing.
HP also wants to get into the on-demand printing business, where it will face competition from the likes of Amazon.com and Lulu.com. Antonio told me that the vision is for a self-serving site to create books. However he said that there are practical issues holding this up, such as DRM.
There are also partnership deals. At Web 2.0 Summit HP announce that its Print 2.0 technology has been integrated into Flickr, allowing Flickr users to easily print their photos. HP did a deal too with Disney, allowing users to combine professional Disney content with their own personal content - and print it out. The Graffiti Application for Facebook, where users can draw on their friends profiles, was also print-enabled by Tabblo.
Ultimately HP wants to make printing a service - I suppose much like Microsoft wants to make its software into services. HP wants to make printing more personal and social; which brings us back to Tabblo's legacy. It did precisely that, make printing personal and social. But HP wants to do it on a much larger scale. This is why big companies build startups of course!
What do you think of HP's Print 2.0? Does it make more sense now that you know the Tabblo story?