Magazine article Marketing

Alliances Force Technology's Pace

Magazine article Marketing

Alliances Force Technology's Pace

Article excerpt

TECHNOLOGY

Another corporate link-up between diverse companies shows a new era for co-operative marketing is gathering momentum

Alliances force technology's pace

Last week it was Apple and IBM, this week it's Hewlett Packard, 3M, Polaroid and Software Publishing Corporation (SPC).

The four companies have got together to revolutionise the business presentation market -- but the longer term impact of the technologies is far wider.

Spurred on by headlong technological developments new and surprising alliances and friendships seem to be forming as if there were no tomorrow.

Imagine that presentation. You pick your data off the computer network (say from head office in San Diego, California) and turn it into snazzy pie and bar charts. Pretty standard so far.

But what about a colour picture of the new product? Simply take it, stuff it under the scanner, and hey presto there it is on your computer screen. Don't like the colours? No problem. Then add text, arrows and commentary and just print the new version out, in full colour, straight on to a new photograph, slide or transparency.

Or if you want, display it straight from the PC screen on to a full colour liquid crystal display overhead projector. The links between paper, copiers, printers, film and its substitutes, and computing have been forged and made easy.

But to do it, four companies, all market leaders in their own right, had to come together: the software from SPC, scanners and printers from Hewlett Packard, film, slides and transparencies from Polaroid and overhead projectors from 3M. "Increasingly, as technologies came together it became fairly obvious that the companies should also come together," says Melanie Poskett, colour programmes peripherals manager at Hewlett Packard.

And, says Chris Brookes, international marketing manager at SPC, "this particular marketing initiative is just the first stage."

Indeed, for many more companies, old go-it-alone strategies are due for a shake-up. "Within the computer industry for the last ten years everybody was going off at a tangent," comments Polaroid product manager Philip Allen. "Suddenly they're saying |hang on a minute', if we get together we can provide a total solution."

But that doesn't mean their problems are solved. One of their dilemmas, as this particular alliance is finding out, is that there is a high probability that consumers will be left behind, panting for breath.

The business presentation whizzkids can't stop going on about how easy their gadgets are to use, how cheap their packages are (compared with most customer expectations) and what good quality they provide. …

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