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Hewlett-Packard Company's 3-D Printing Plans Are Meaningless for Shareholders

By Steve Heller – Mar 24, 2014 at 7:00PM

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When you’re as big as Hewlett-Packard, the laws of big numbers can make it difficult to drive growth.

At Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ -0.37%) recent annual shareholder meeting, CEO Meg Whitman announced that the company has plans to enter the 3-D printing space and will make a formal announcement sometime in June. The tech giant hopes it can repeat the same success it's achieved in 2-D printing again with 3-D printing. Unfortunately, it likely won't matter much for shareholders, because HP is simply too big of a company in terms of revenue for 3-D printing to make a meaningful impact on overall business results.

That's not to say Hewlett-Packard won't be a threat to Startasys (SSYS 1.12%) or 3D Systems (DDD 0.68%). Hewlett-Packard plans on focusing on speed and material science to create parts quicker and smoother than competitors Stratasys and 3D Systems. If successful, it could eventually become a serious threat to 3D Systems and Stratasys. However, investors should realize that it's going to take time for Hewlett-Packard to create any sort of headache for 3D Systems or Stratasys because its products will likely have to be "vetted" by the industry, and it likely won't be able to offer a wide array of material options -- at least at first.

In the following video, 3-D printing analyst Steve Heller puts it into terms why Hewlett-Packard shareholders likely won't realize much benefit, and why 3D Systems and Stratasys investors have little to worry about for the time being.

Steve Heller owns shares of 3D Systems. The Motley Fool recommends 3D Systems and Stratasys. The Motley Fool owns shares of 3D Systems and Stratasys. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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