More and more customers are focusing on their print costs per page, Crowley said. The new HP division could potentially charge companies per page printed, he said, a fee that would cover hardware, supplies and services such as help desk support.
An analyst agreed with Crowley, saying the new unit will deliver transparency between imaging and printing services and other HP services offerings. "They probably are the first to form a global-focused business unit at this level," said Jon Reardon, group director at research firm Infotrends.
Xerox claimed leadership in the managed printing services space over HP, though, citing research from Gartner. It also disputes the claims that HP is the first with a dedicated print services division and that Xerox's print services are spread across various divisions.
"The race for leadership in enterprise print started a decade ago, it isn't something that another vendor can easily replicate. Xerox has one division that handles managed print services -- Xerox Global Services," said Jim Joyce, senior vice president of Xerox enterprise print services.
The Xerox Global Services group includes managed print services as well as document and enterprise content management services.
This story was updated on September 14 and September 15, 2009