Snapping Up Snapfish

If there's one good thing that you can say about Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) these days, it's that the company is putting out some really cool commercials. Seamlessly blending film with photography as The Kinks' Picture Book or The Cure's Pictures of You plays in the background, the commercials are great, but can they help HP become the Kodak (NYSE: EK  ) of the 21st century?

The company took another step in that direction by announcing last night that it would be acquiring popular photography site Snapfish, where users can go to upload digital snapshots as well as order processed prints. With the purchase, HP will be inheriting an active online destination with 13 million registered members.

This will help HP expand its reach beyond its HP Photo users while helping it compete with Kodak's Ofoto site. The two aren't mortal enemies here -- Snapfish does sell its prints on Kodak paper -- but it's a major coup for HP as it tries to sell more of its digital cameras and photo printers.

With companies like Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) and Lexmark (NYSE: LXK  ) pushing their photo printers, Snapfish will serve HP well, given its ability to command an active audience of folks who upload their pictures and share them with friends and family.

For HP, a company trying to redefine its focus in the post-Fiorina age, snapping up Snapfish is a brilliant move that will help the company strengthen its printing stronghold, which continues to command the lion's share of the company's operating profits. Talk about posing pretty.

More recent digital photography snapshots:

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pecked out this story on his HP desktop -- but he's using a Dell monitor, so there. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


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