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By Steven Burke, on CRN.com Nov 1 2017

HP’s completion of the $1.05 billion deal to acquire Samsung’s printer business provides partners with the firepower to drive big sales growth in the $55 billion A3 copier replacement market, HP partners told CRN.

“The A3 is going to be a big seller for us,” said Bruno Tirone, president and CEO of MRA International, a Long Branch, N.J.-based HP partner. “The net of this is we get to play in a different market that was owned by the copier companies. Now there is a gorilla coming into the market changing the playing field. HP is making a $1 billion investment that is going to change this market. This is a shoo-in for us.”

Tirone said he sees the HP A3 sales charge with the Samsung acquisition as disruptive as HP’s introduction of the LaserJet laser printer in the ’80s. That product completely reshaped the printer landscape, providing a 50 percent increase in pages per minute at a fraction of the price of printer competitors.

“HP disrupted the market with the laser printer,” he said. “The same thing is going to happen here with copiers.”

HP has pledged that its new A3 portfolio will deliver a 40 percent lower cost for color and a 20 percent to 30 percent services cost savings compared with the current crop of copiers.

The new A3 products, which began shipping earlier this year, are aimed at grabbing a 12 percent share of the market over the next several years from copier stalwarts such as Xerox, Ricoh and Konica Minolta.

HP celebrated the closing of the Samsung deal Wednesday at a Suwon, South Korea, Samsung facility, where HPE executives welcomed the new Samsung workforce of 6,000 employees that includes 1,300 researchers and engineers.

“We will be able to be more aggressive in terms of [A3] pricing and programs [as a result of the acquisition],” said HP Imaging and Printing President Enrique Lores in an interview with CRN. “Both for the HP resellers and the Samsung resellers, this is a great opportunity to accelerate their growth.”

Partners said the biggest advantage HP brings to the A3 game is its security prowess in a market where copiers are now connected to the corporate network.

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, a top HP partner and No. 119 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, said he sees Future Tech’s printer business tripling over the next year in large part due to HP leveraging its security printer capabilities as a distinct competitive advantage.

“We are going to see huge growth from HP print in 2018 with both secure print in what is an ever-changing and risk-driven world around security at the edge,” said Venero. “HP is in a great position to protect the edge around print. There is no question that every printer is a vulnerable access point into the network. You have got open USB ports, hard drive, and paper being left on top of the printer.”

HP has been making an all-out printer security innovation offensive, resulting in what it is calling the world’s most secure printers. The A3 portfolio and all HP 500 and 600 commercial enterprise products include HP SureStar BIOS protection; HP whitelisting firmware; and HP runtime intrusion detection, which keeps printer memory safe.

HP also is set to ship in the next several months its HP Connection Inspector – an embedded security feature available via a firmware update that aims to prevent rogue malware attacks with artificial intelligence capabilities.

Ultimately, the Samsung acquisition opens huge opportunities for partners to win “bigger deals” against printer competitors where it was difficult to compete prior to the Samsung acquisition, said Venero. “This gives partners a choice of who to align with in the copier market where copier makers were not as channel-friendly,” he said.

The deal brings HP more A3 scale and intellectual property with new patents to accelerate sales growth, said Venero. “Anytime a vendor like HP enters a market like this there is always better margin potential for partners,” he said. “This is all about gaining share with unique differentiating technology with a more lucrative model for partners.”