Probably one of the most anticipated pieces of news, that many within the 3D printing space are waiting for, is how and to what extent Hewlett Packard will enter the space. Literally for years, industry insiders have been speculating that Meg Whitman, and Hewlett Packard would eventually produce 3D Printers. The media frenzy boiled over earlier this year, when Whitman made remarks that HP may be ready to introduce a product and a plan as early as this summer. Whitman later was forced to renege on those comments, clarifying that it will not be until the end of this year that the company will reveal their 3D printing ambitions.
Regardless of when they expect to enter the market, established players in the industry like Stratasys, and 3D Systems have to be at least the slightest bit worried about their entry plans. Earlier today, following yesterday’s earnings report for the quarter ending April 30, 2014, Meg Whitman was interviewed on CNBC. In the interview which you can watch at the bottom of this article, Whitman made it clear that her intentions are only to enter the market for business based 3D printing, and not consumer based printers.
“We’re focused on business 3D printing, not consumer 3D printing,” Whitman told CNBC’s Jim Cramer. “We’ll announce a 3D printing technology at the end of this year, and we think there’s a real opportunity here.”
Many have guessed that HP may cater to retail stores which offer 3D printing as a service. The fact that the company will not likely be participating in the consumer market, certainly bodes well for the various 3D printer manufacturers out there, small and large, who do. However, Whitman does see the market as providing HP with a major opportunity, one which will eventually grow into a thriving business unit for the company.
“This is an acorn that we’re planting that will become an oak tree in the future. This is a business we need to be in. It’s very consistent with our heritage, but we’re doing that in a lot of businesses. You know, innovation, you have to plant those acorns before they become oak trees and you have to have patience in terms of development cycles. You have to continuously and consistently invest in R&D,” Whitman continued.
Regardless of their intentions, HP will likely provide an innovative push for the industry, using their capital for R & D, to create a product for manufacturers and businesses which may be faster, and cheaper than those of competitors. I guess we will all find out what’s up their sleeves in another six months or so. Discuss HP’s 3D Printing ambitions in the Hewlett Packard thread at 3DPB.com.