This Week in Imaging: Xerox Like Kodak? Hardly; Sharp 1st to Partner with Alexa; More

Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

There was lots of interesting news this week, but perhaps what struck us the most was “activist” investor Carl Icahn’s open letter to Xerox shareholders in which he criticizes Xerox leadership and compares Xerox to Eastman Kodak, warning that Xerox could supposedly follow Kodak’s path into bankruptcy, based apparently on the fact that CEO Jeff Jacobson and chairman Robert Keegan both hail from Kodak. (Note that Kodak actually emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2011, and since then has had several profitable quarters).

To us it seems that there are two things to know about this. First, this is par for the course for the contentious Icahn, famous or infamous, depending on your perspective, for seeking to bend corporations to his will. Second, while Xerox and Kodak both have a few things in common, including that they both hail from Rochester, New York, the companies pursued different paths. When a young Eastman Kodak engineer, Steven Sassoon, invented the digital camera in 1975 at Kodak, Kodak executives back in the ’70s were reluctant to expand on his invention and thus lost a key opportunity. Kodak’s decision to re-enter the consumer printer market in 2007 just before the beginning of the Great Recession didn’t help matters either.

In contrast, Xerox was quick to transition from analog to digital – from analog to digital copiers, to digital MFPs, and printers, and later to workflow automation and managed print services. And although Icahn criticized Xerox’s latest products as “catch-up to competitors,” in our opinion, the latest Xerox ConnectKey MFPs and printers are state-of-the-art.

Xerox didn’t respond to the attack, but pointed to its statement released on Monday stating that its stock price had enjoyed a 30-percent year-to-date increase: “In 2017 alone, we expect to meet or exceed our target of $600 million of gross cost savings, a critical step as we continue our journey to improving our revenue trajectory … Shareholders have recognized our strong progress: Xerox’s share price has increased almost 30 percent year-to-date, well in excess of the S&P 500.”

This also isn’t the first time Icahn has tangled with tech companies. In 2013, Icahn attempted to stop Dell Computers’ leveraged buyout. Dell founder and CEO Michael Dell had little good to say of Icahn, telling a conference of tech leaders: “He is a bad guy. He lies. He has no ethical boundaries. He will say anything, do anything. I have no time for him.”

Office-Imaging News

New EFI Fiery Server Adds New Performance Muscle to Xerox AltaLink C8000 Color Copier/MFPs – Read more here.

Sharp is First Copier Provider Working with ‘Alexa for Business’ for Voice-Driven Copiers, More – Read more here.

Epson Launches Trio of Wide-Format WorkForce Business Inkjets- Read more here.

Xerox AltaLink Copier/MFPs First to Receive Common Criteria Certification for Security – Read more here.

New Konica Minolta Mobile Print App Features Secure Print, User Authentication, More – Read more here.

Lexmark Introduces RFID Laser Printing for Manufacturing – Read more here.

FMAudit MPS Solution Features Expanded Integration with HP Smart Device Services – Read more here.

Lexmark’s New Patient Communication Solution Provides Color Printing, Print-on-Demand for Healthcare – Read more here.

New Compact Kyocera A3 Copier/MFPs for SMBs Feature SMARTech for Minimizing Downtime – Read more here.

Consumer-Imaging News

HP Rolls Out Free Ink with New Free Printing Plan – Read more here.

Other News

Toshiba, Western Digital Settle, Sale of Memory Business to Proceed – Read more here.

Hong Kong Investor Tells Toshiba Sales of Memory Business Not Necessary – Read more here.

Billionaire Investor Icahn Blasts Xerox Board, Says Xerox ‘Desperately Needs New Leadership’ – Read more here.

Carl Icahn to Nominate Four Directors to Xerox Board – Read more here.

Acquisitions

Benchmark Business Acquisition Marks Visual Edge’s Seventh Acquisition this Year – Read more here.

Private-Equity Firm Oval Partners Makes Strategic Investment in Caltronics Business Systems  – Read more here.

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December 2017

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