Mar 22, 2005

Snapfish Snapped up

Hewlett-Packard said Monday that it is buying Snapfish, one of the top three online digital-photo sites.

As the online photo business consolidates, it threatens HP's photo-printing business, which is part of the Palo Alto company's high-profit printing and imaging division. San Francisco-based Snapfish gives HP a piece of the online photo action.

"As digital cameras mature, we are seeing more and more people using different methods for printing photos,'' said Haueter, principal analyst at market research firm Gartner. "Prices are going down to 15 cents. If you have 40 photos from your vacation, you are not going to do those photos at home. It's happening, whether HP likes it or not. It's smart of them to get into it.''

Founded in 1999, Snapfish has 13 million registered users and said it is adding more than 500,000 new members a month. Customers can mail disposable cameras and film to Snapfish, which processes both digital and analog film. Snapfish also lets customers emblazon their photos on coffee cups, mouse pads and other objects.
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