Lexmark Chairman and CEO Paul Curlander Tuesday defended his company's spending on research and development compared to rivals like Hewlett Packard. Curlander's comments came as he acknowledged Lexmark suffered a "disappointing" second quarter, during a conference call with Wall Street analysts to talk about Lexmark's earnings. Richard Gardner, an analyst with Citigroup, New York, questioned Curlander sharply over Lexmark's R&D compared to rivals and even asked whether the company had to make some "tough decisions" about its flagging inkjet business.
"I was wondering if you would acknoweldge a big problem in (Lexmark's) inkjet (business) is lacking print-head technology," Gardner said. "Given that your competitors are spending five and 10 times as much on inkjet R&D technology as you are, I'm wondering how you can atch up at this point, cost-effectively, and, as you say, spend as much as you need to spend on R&D to get back to where you'd like to be in the consumer segment?"