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 user 2007-02-22 at 11:36:00 am Views: 58
  • #17768

    went virtually un-noticed within our industry. IBM and Ricoh timed the
    announcement such that no one would pay much attention. This is a
    shocker: Ricoh is buying IBM’s Printer Systems Division (PSD)! Ricoh
    has been making engines for the IBM midrange printers for some time
    now. It is clear that IBM wants out of the hardware business, having
    sold off much of its own production capacity. This move comes as quite
    a shock, yet there are some excellent opportunities ahead that I’ll
    balance against the problems this may cause.

    Lets start with the positive:
    printer division gets the global resources and production excellence of
    Ricoh who is focused on printing equipment. Ricoh has made significant
    inroads into the copier segment but has not entered the low end IT
    market until now. The relationship with IBM on the higher end printers
    precluded their entry, and Lexmark’s printers were a natural choice
    given Lexmark’s heritage as an IBM

    Lexmark machines upon which the current mid to low end devices are
    based have interoperational issues in the newest generation which may
    make maintenance complicated and expensive.The Ricoh machines are solid
    performers with low cost of operation. Add in the vast support
    infrastructure of the IBM PSD service that Ricoh will acquire, and we
    have a comer.Ricoh has developed color capability over a long period,
    and their market maturity and very low operational costs will find a
    ready audience in time.

    On the down side we have:
    loss of IBM as a technology developer and leader is a blow, but the
    proprietary AFP and IPDS applications are mature and stable. Clearly
    Ricoh will want to keep things stable while they transition, but then
    we can probably say goodbye to the Lexmark OEM gear in favor of Ricoh’s
    mature product line.Users will have a small but present learning curve
    with the newer engines. I don’t expect much friction to final
    acceptance of the Ricoh based Infoprints, but there are lumps to be
    taken in order to find stable platforms in the new product. Continuity
    will be disturbed, but I expect Ricoh to act patiently so as to avoid
    real headaches in transition.Ricoh has no current penetration into the
    IT landscape, so there are certain to be pains and aches as they learn
    there way through it.So far there have been no changes to anything
    operational regarding this buyout. I will be sure to keep you apprised
    of important changes as they occur.We are already beginning to
    familiarize ourselves with the new products, but it will be many years
    before the real ramifications are evident.In other news, we have
    successfully integrated our e-commerce site. The next step is to offer
    dealer login which will provide discounts. This will prove to be of
    great interest fo those who need parts identification, prices, and
    wholesale ordering 24×7.Also, as part of our technology refresh, we
    have integrated UPS shipping into our database management application,
    BIS. This multiuser application has been recently improved to allow
    multiple inventories and multiple locations to manage, ship, invoice
    and track every aspect of operations. While not currently packaged for
    retail sale, we would enjoy the opportunity to give you a
    demonstration. BIS is the result of years of development,
    specificallyaddressing the particular needs to collapse and explode
    equipment while tracking all costs.

    David T. Mendelson