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HP Buys Snapfish Photo Web Site

Palo Alto, Calif. — Hewlett Packard stepped back into consumer photofinishing today with the purchase of San Francisco-based online photo processing Web site Snapfish.

The deal, expected to close in April, will give HP a foothold in online digital services akin to Kodak’s purchase of Ofoto in 2001. Snapfish currently boasts of 13 million registered users and is adding 500,000 members per month, according to HP.

The Web site offers digital photo printing, free storage, editing tools and software in addition to wireless imaging services for camera phone users. It sells personalized photo gifts such as calendars and mugs.

Snapfish also provides infrastructure services on a private label basis to retailers, Internet service providers and wireless carriers.

Ben Nelson, president of Snapfish, will lead the new division within HP.