This Week in Imaging: Clash of the Titans? Apex/Lexmark, Xerox Throw down the Gauntlet; More

three-goats

Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

Clash of the titans? For sure. The news this week was dominated by the titans of our industry:

  • Xerox promises in 2017 to launch 29 new ConnectKey MFPs in its largest new product launch ever, along with a renewed commitment to its dealer-recruitment efforts, including multi-brand vendors. Think about it, if you were a dual-line “copier” dealer which vendor would you choose? HP/Samsung or Xerox? This is a tough choice on a number of levels, but the Xerox lease/service contract/proprietary supplies model could be more reassuring.
  • HP Inc. ramps up MFP security. However, it remains to be seen if and when this new security technology will end up on their soon-to-be acquired line of Samsung printers and MFPs.
  • Canon demonstrates that it’s one of the only “copier vendors” willing to buck the “milk the A3 toner-based MFP model to death” trend and expand its product line into the consumer and small-business marketplace with continued efforts to reach out to new markets with another new CISS PIXMA inkjet with refillable ink tanks.
  • Meanwhile, the Chinese firm Apex Technology says that it’s an aspiring titan, and that the Lexmark acquisition will help it create a “global printer empire.”

Apex’s aspirations are intriguing, as Apex adds the diverse capabilities of Lexmark to its portfolio of homegrown technology, along with Apex’s prior acquisitions that include:

  • Static Control Components – One of the most experienced and largest suppliers of components to the international ink and toner cartridge remanufacturing industry, and a former Lexmark antagonist. In separate rulings in 2004 and 2012 (litigation described by Justice Scalia in 2014 as “sprawling”), the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that in regards to U.S. intellectual property and trademark law, Static Control’s circumvention of Lexmark’s ink/toner-cartridge authentication technology didn’t violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
  • Ninestar – Manufacturer of inkjet cartridges, toner cartridges, and printer ribbons for over 13 years.
  • APEXMIC – Ink/toner-cartridge chips and manufacturing solutions (housings, photoconductors, etc.) that supply the worldwide imaging supply remanufacturer and distributor industries.

Plus, Apex has the backing of the Chinese economy; considerable market potential in Southeast Asia, where the market for office printing is greater than in the West; and the forces of Chinese state capitalism behind it.

Meanwhile, IDC reports that worldwide hardcopy peripherals (HCP) shipments declined 3.0 percent in the third quarter of 2016 – but rose 4.4 percent (both year-over-year) in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan).

Considering all of this, is there room for yet another titan in the world of digital imaging? It’s certainly possible, as Apex seems poised to come in the through the back door via supply sales (the lifeblood of our industry) and potentially do some real damage, and it now has a line of powerful (Lexmark) MFPs and printers that will supply and sustain it.

Office-Imaging News

  • Xerox Gears up for ‘Largest New Product Launch’ – 29 New ConnectKey MFPs Coming, New Dealer Recruitment – Read more here.
  • Apex Technology Says Lexmark Acquisition Will Help it Create Global Printer Empire – Read more here.
  • HP Redesigns MPS to Protect Networked Copier/MFPs, Printers Now Configured for Security – Read more here.
  • Canon Expands Inkjet with Refillable Ink Tanks with New PIXMA G4400 – Read more here.
  • Fujitsu Adds Web-Based Document Scanning, More, to Upgraded PaperStream Application – Read more here.
  • Square 9 Softworks’ Document-Capture Software Now Available Panasonic Document Scanners – Read more here.
  • Google Cloud Print May be Disabling Some Epson Printers – Read more here.
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