One of the leading 3D printer manufacturers Stratasys Inc. and Hewlett Packard announced recently that the two companies are discontinuing their manufacturing and distribution agreement at the end of 2012. Under this agreement Stratasys was manufacturing a HP specific line of printers that were distributed in few key European countries through HP’s channels.
The commercialization of 3D printing hardware is still very much at the early part of its life cycle in terms of adoption and sophistication. Last year there were numerous unsubstantiated rumors regarding Stratasys and their main rival 3D Systems being acquisition targets for HP and Apple, hinting that the bigger players and considering a market entry and positioning themselves for the expected fast developing industry.
Given the vast future potential of 3D industry, the discontinuation of this distribution agreement looks more likely a normal refocusing exercise rather than carrying any strategic importance for either company. The chances are that we will see a lot of consolidation in this space as well as new entrants in the coming years and both companies are likely to be the key players in that process.