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 user 2007-02-26 at 11:46:00 am Views: 81
  • #17586

    Xerox and Kodak headed for turf war
    most of their 40 years of coexistence as the two biggest companies in
    Rochester, N.Y., Xerox Corp. and Eastman Kodak Co. have been friendly
    neighbors, avoiding poaching on each other’s territory. Xerox copiers
    ruled the office; Kodak film owned the consumer. But digital
    convergence and financial travails are
    increasingly turning the two imaging companies into rivals.
    a sign of the growing competitiveness, Xerox announced on Thursday a
    deal with Fuji Photo Film Co., Kodak’s longtime nemesis in traditional
    film, to put high-quality Xerox printers into retailers’ photo
    minilabs. The devices will let consumers create calendars, greeting
    cards and photo books at store kiosks rather than going online to Web
    sites like The enhanced machines may also lure some
    retailers from using Kodak-made photo kiosks _ one of the company’s
    most successful businesses.Xerox and Kodak are already competing to
    sell color digital presses to commercial printers, a market that Xerox
    now leads and that Kodak entered through a string of acquisitions
    beginning three years ago. Both regard the commercial printing industry
    as a key strategic market, accounting for one-quarter or more of their
    revenue, but their product overlap remains limited.The new competition
    illustrates how rapidly changing technology can force companies to
    challenge corporations that once moved in parallel universes. Telephone
    carriers and cable-television companies are now battling it out, while
    cellphone makers will soon compete with Apple Inc. for a mobile-music
    market once dominated by Sony Corp.’s Walkman.Xerox and Kodak both owe
    their fortunes to products that place images on media. Xerox _ whose
    roots and biggest plants are in Rochester, though its headquarters is
    in Stamford, Conn. _ ruled the office market with copiers that fused
    toner to paper. Kodak, which long ago abandoned its copier business,
    has built a consumer brand, selling film and photo-finishing
    services.But the digital revolution hit both companies hard. First,
    inkjet printers slashed demand for Xerox copiers. Then digital cameras
    devastated Kodak’s film business. Xerox skirted bankruptcy in 2001
    before beginning a painful turnaround. Kodak is still in the midst of a
    restructuring that will see world-wide employment cut to 28,000 by the
    end of this year from a 1984 peak of 145,000. In many ways, each
    company is a shadow of its former self. Xerox stock, which hit a high
    of $63 in 1999, closed on Wednesday at $17.97 a share. Kodak’s high was
    $85 in 1996; Wednesday it closed at $25.05 a share.

    In a search
    for new markets, the companies have adapted their technology to digital
    color printing in the hope that growing sales of ink and toner will
    provide the kind of recurring revenue that black toner used to give
    Xerox and film once gave Kodak. “Increasingly, the two will be facing
    off,” says Matt Troy, an analyst with Citigroup who follows the imaging
    market.As the rivalry heats up, it “will be a battle of the titans” in
    Rochester, says Frank Romano, professor emeritus of printing at
    Rochester Institute of Technology. The population of the upstate New
    York city, currently 211,000, has been shrinking because of layoffs at
    Kodak and Xerox. Keeping secrets from each other is difficult because
    “people go back and forth routinely,” Mr. Romano says. “It’s hard to
    get talented people to move to Rochester.”To be sure, the two companies
    face even stiffer competition from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Canon Inc.,
    which are much larger and more profitable and boast bigger
    research-and-development budgets.The biggest battleground for Xerox and
    Kodak is selling to commercial printers _ a big but deeply troubled
    industry. Mr. Troy of Citigroup says “there are 32,000 commercial
    printers, and they’re going bankrupt at a rate of over 1,000 a year,
    with profit margins of 1 percent to 2 percent. It’s a dismal business.”
    Even though traditional offset printing is stagnant, digital color
    printing of customized catalogs and brochures is growing rapidly. So
    Kodak and Xerox are trying to persuade the printers to invest $400,000
    or more for a color digital press that can churn out more than 100
    pages a minute. In 2005, Xerox’s iGen printers held 37 percent of the
    high-end market, compared with 21 percent for Kodak’s NexPress,
    according to market researcher InfoTrends in Weymouth, Mass. H-P’s
    Indigo press had a 33 percent share.Xerox says it spent nearly $1
    billion developing the iGen presses, and it also has a broad line of
    slower digital presses used in print shops. Quincy Allen, president of
    Xerox’s production systems group, says that last year Xerox captured
    $4.5 billion out of what it views as an $8 billion market for digital
    presses and printing supplies. He says that his goal is to capture a
    large portion of the $17 billion color market now handled by aging
    offset presses. “Our page volume would dwarf NexPress or Indigo in
    terms of pages produced,” he adds.Kodak has long sold ink, film and
    other supplies to printers. Since 2003, it has gone heavily into debt,
    spending $2.5 billion to broaden its printing portfolio and enter the
    digital-printing market. Jeffrey Hayzlett, chief marketing officer for
    Kodak Graphic Communications, says that most print shops already buy
    Kodak supplies for their offset presses, giving Kodak an entree to sell
    its high-end presses. “We’re the only ones playing in both the
    conventional and the digital side,” he says. “We’ve been in this print
    business for over 100 years. We’ve seen a lot of competitors come and
    go.”Analysts say that Xerox’s broad portfolio of digital printers gives
    it an advantage. For example, cash-strapped printers that want to enter
    the digital-press business at a lower price point can buy its Docucolor
    line for less than $100,000. But Mr. Romano says he expects Kodak will
    soon start to resell some cheaper digital presses made by Canon. Mr.
    Hayzlett declines to comment on that but says Kodak will announce an
    expanded line in April.

    Xerox’s new deal with Fuji takes it into
    the heart of Kodak’s traditional business _ consumer photo printing.
    Kodak has installed some 80,000 photo kiosks where photographers can
    make prints in retail stores around the world. It also sells home photo
    printers and offers online photo printing and overnight lab
    photofinishing. Fuji, which divided up the snapshot market with Kodak
    in the film days, provides digital prints only through retailers,
    building on its success with one-hour photo labs at Wal-Mart Stores
    Inc. and Walgreen Co. That has proved to be a good bet for Fuji as
    consumer printing has migrated from home printers; last year, 46
    percent of digital prints were produced at retail outlets, topping home
    printing for the first time, according to the Photographic Marketing
    Association, a trade group.Fuji hasn’t worked with Xerox much in the
    past, although its parent owns 75 percent of Fuji Xerox, a Japan-based
    copier and printer company that is 25 percent owned by Xerox. Bing
    Liem, senior vice president of sales at Fuji, says, “We saw a huge
    opportunity. Photo books and calendars and personalized gifts have been
    exploding.” Xerox’s Phaser 7760 printer, which sells for less than
    $10,000, lets retailers offer alternatives to 4-by-6-inch prints. It
    can be equipped with spiral binding add-ons for calendars and
    hard-cover binding for photo books.The competition is likely to
    increase. Kodak hasn’t tried to crack Xerox’s office stronghold for
    awhile, but its recently announced color inkjet multifunction devices
    can print 22 color pages a minute _ fast enough to attract some of the
    small-business offices that Xerox also targets.