Analysts don't see things getting any better. The printer market is expected to grow just 1 percent to 2 percent in the next few years, said IDC analyst Crawford Del Prete, while PC sales will grow as much as 5 percent. Printer sales are also more sensitive to changes in the economy, he said.
At the same time, HP needs to cut costs, as current CEO Meg Whitman made clear on the company's last earnings call. HP has underinvested in innovation, she said, and must spend more money to stay competitive.
That means freeing up money elsewhere in the business, and rolling two big divisions together could help. Printers and PCs share some of the same components, and there is likely to also be overlap in areas such as manufacturing, sales and marketing.
"Todd Bradley has done a fantastic job in creating a more efficient Personal Systems Group, and I think they're looking to him to work some of that magic in the printer division," IDC's Del Prete said.
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