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 user 2004-04-12 at 2:17:00 pm Views: 49
  • #5147
    Samsung To Open New U.S. Printer R&D Site

    Looking To claim the top spot in the laser printer market by the end of the decade, Samsung is ramping up a new printer research-and-development center in Irvine, Calif., and plans to recruit resellers to help it fight rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and Canon.

    The Digital Information Technology unit of the global electronics giant is about 30 percent of the way along in hiring employees for the new U.S. Printing R&D facility, which aims to deliver new color laser printers to the U.S. market, said Jay Shears, director of office automation for the Samsung unit.

    By opening the facility in Southern California, Samsung can develop more flexible technology options and get them to market faster, Shears said, adding that solution providers also will have a greater opportunity to provide businesses with customized printing solutions.

    “We can give resellers the ability to customize certain aspects of the product,” Shears said, citing modified hardware, control panels and user interfaces as examples. Samsung is developing a reseller recruitment plan, which will help the vendor penetrate its rivals’ channels, he said.

    Despite trailing market leaders such as HP, Canon and Lexmark International by a wide margin in market share for branded printers, Samsung is the second-leading manufacturer of printer engines worldwide. It’s also a broadline manufacturer of components, ranging from processors to printer toner. “Samsung controls the process, the manufacturing, the software and the hardware that goes into our engines,” Shears said.

    Samsung also faces an uphill battle as it tries to penetrate a channel against HP, Lexmark, Xerox and Oki Data, which have been hiking their financial and channel program incentives to solution providers over the past 18 months. Shears said the new action by Samsung is a response to a broad mission set out by company Chairman Kun-Hee Lee to build a market share of 28 percent within three years and become a “first-tier” laser printer vendor by 2009.

    “The largest opportunity between now and 2007 is replacement product,” Shears said. “When you look at the data, you see an enormous opportunity to replace the old products.”

    Next month, Samsung plans to roll out two color laser printers, the CLP-550 and the CLP-550N. The products will be network-ready, upgradable to wireless connectivity and have a 5-ppm color print rate and 21-ppm print rate for monochrome, the company said. Pricing for the printers hadn’t been finalized at press time.