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 user 2007-06-22 at 11:50:00 am Views: 33
  • #18022

    Printing Vendors Gear Up For Color Battle
    hardware companies are throwing new ammunition into a war for color
    print pages throughout the market, making it the second prong—along
    with a new channel focus—in a two-pronged fight.Xerox, Oki Data
    Americas and Hewlett-Packard have all launched new color print
    technologies or offerings in the past several weeks. At the same time,
    they are seeking to gain or maintain mind share in the solution
    provider channel.”You hear me say this every quarter, but it is worth
    repeating: The power of color is in the pages,” said Xerox Chairman and
    CEO Anne Mulcahy, in a conference call with financial analysts
    following the company’s most recent quarterly earnings report. “We are
    strides ahead of our competitors in this space, and you see it in our
    results.” More than 30 billion color pages were produced on Xerox
    technology last year, and in the first quarter of 2007, print pages on
    Xerox hardware increased by 29 percent, she said.

    To keep the
    momentum, Xerox said it has recently reached a breakthrough to allow
    the delivery of custom colors on the Xerox DocuTech 128, 155 and 180
    Highlight Color Systems, and the technology will be available in all
    Xerox toner-based products. The technology, according to Xerox, will
    allow for the creation of more than 1,000 custom colors when it is
    rolled out over the next several months.Earlier this year, Stamford,
    Conn.-based Xerox began a major initiative to engage solution
    providers, opening up its entire office product line to the channel and
    saying it would boost incentives for VARs as it seeks to grow its share
    of the SMB segment.Rival Oki Data, Mount Laurel, N.J., continues its
    focus on driving color sales, and this month will begin shipping a new
    MFP with HD Color. The C5550n system will open with a street price of
    $1,499 and is targeted at enterprises seeking to produce more color
    materials in-house. Oki Data is positioning the C5550n as a color
    offering with high-end quality for enterprises with smaller
    budgets.”[Vendors'] old printers are on the street; they don’t die,”
    said Pete Busam, CEO of Decisive Business Systems, a Pennsauken,
    N.J.-based solution provider that works with several printer vendors.
    But over the past 18 months, he said, the SMB segment has begun to
    adopt more in-house marketing strategies and shows signs of continued
    strength. “Small and midsize companies are seeing the quality and cost
    [of color documents] are much more reasonable than they were seven or
    eight years ago,” he said. “It’s affordable.”Busam said that HP,
    Lexmark and Xerox have always maintained strength in the color document
    space, adding: “It seems like Oki Data is starting to raise its flag a
    little bit.”Like Xerox, Oki Data recently revamped its entire approach
    to the channel, launching a new ProfitOps program with higher financial
    incentives and more channel support.

    HP, Palo Alto, Calif., has
    seen 19 percent growth in its color hardware business and continues to
    push a strategy for growing its share. Last month, HP unveiled its
    Print 2.0 strategy, which focuses heavily on deploying Web-based
    printing technologies across the Internet as well as the deployment of
    tools that will be integrated with HP color products. Those tools will
    be made available on the new Color LaserJet CP3505, the company said.