Wednesday, August 5, 2009

MFP Weekend Industry Notes from 8/3/09


Special thanx to the Print4Pay Hotel members for this!

According to MAIT’s Performance Review, unit sales of computer printers and MFPs, are up 1% over last year worldwide.

Nuance Communications purchased X-Solutions of the Netherlands. Details:
- Xerox was the catalyst in the formation of both companies
- History of Nuance:
- Xerox purchases Kurzweil Computer Products, an early developer of OCR technology, in 1980
- In 1988, Xerox acquired scanner make, Datacopy
- Xerox combines Kurzweil and Datacopy to Form Xerox Imaging Systems (XIS)
- In 1998, XIS sold to Visioneer
- Visioneer renames itself ScanSoft
- In 2000, ScanSoft purchased Caere, maker of OmniPage OCR
- ScanSoft dumps its TextBridge OCR engine for OmniPage
- In 2005, ScanSoft merges with Nuance Communications
- In 2006, it paid $357 million for Dictaphone
- In January, 2008, it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against ABBYY, maker of FineReader OCR engine. It also sued ABBYY’s largest customer, Lexmark.
- In September 2008, it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against eCopy
- In October 2008, IRIS, who OCR engine is part of eCopy, filed a suit of its own against Nuance.
- Nuance claims to have 70% marketshare of OCR software in the U.S.
- X-Solutions is the maker of ScanFlowStore, an OCR scan embedded application sold with Xerox MFPs.
- Also makes DigiDocFlow for Ricoh, SmartOfficeScan for HP and SimplifyScan for Sharp

Kofax, maker of high end production scanning systems and software, announced it is going downmarket. Its new Kofax Desktop, can be downloaded from their website for only $29. The company hopes to compete against eCopy Desktop or Nuance PaperPort with this new product. It adds a scan tab to MS Office, and works with any TWAIN scanning device, but only offers pull scanning, and not push scanning.

Oce’ has renegotiated its debt covenants, as the company struggles financially, to prevent the banks from taking over company. The new covenants now call for:
- a net debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) ratio of under 3.5
- an EDITDA to net interest ratio of over 3.5
- the banks charged Oce’ 12 million Euros for this covenant restatement

The City of New York just signed a 3 year, $1 million contract to supply typewriters to the New York City Police Department, according to CIO magazine. I quess they don't have forms software, I haven't seen a typewriter in an office in years!

A worker for the State of California reported that budget cuts are so deep, that his department, the Osteopathic Medical Board in Sacramento, is being prevented from buying toner cartridges for its Kyocera KM-3035 digital copier.

Dell Computer agreed to pay out $9.1 million to settle a class action alleging that the company discriminated against women in its methods of compensating and promoting its employees.

Samsung’s North American headquarters won a temporary restraining order against its former chief managing officer in a suit alleging that his accepting the same position at rival Motorola Inc. will illegally pass to Motorola, some of Samsung intellectual property.

Samsung owner and former group chairman, Lee Kun-hee, has been cleared of all legal charges, with the exception of tax evasion, by Korea’s Supreme County after a 13 year court battle. Lee led Samsung for 20 years before quitting after being indicted on charges in April of 2008.

InfoTrends expects desktop scanner sales to increase by 2013, even though sales this year are down as compared to a year ago.

Lexmark reported its last quarter’s financials:
- earnings down 80%
- stock shares fell $1.27 to $17.50
- profit down to $17 million from $83.7 million a year earlier

Police in Utica, NY have arrested Ngoc Nguyen on July 16th, after he allegedly destroyed a copier at an office at 901 Park Avenue.

According to the Printing Industries of America, digital print accounts for 12% of printers’ shipments, or about $36.7 billion. By 2020, the growth in digital print could add $13-$20 billion.

Industry analyst, Gartner, predicts that printer/MFP manufacturers will lose more than $13 billion in revenue to companies that make unauthorized generic toner and ink cartridges, due to the rising popularity of managed print services programs.

Interesting statistics from U.S. Postal Service:
- 86% of domestic mail is generated by business
- 14% of mail is from households
- In 1995, 20% of world communications was mail
- 99% of companies worldwide use email
- 86% of companies have a website
- 78% of companies have an intranet
- 72% of companies plan to process transactions over the Internet
- 45% of all print is distributed via the Postal Service

Kodak reported its last quarter’s financials:
- sales down 29%
- reported a loss of $191 million
- revenue from digital business down 28%
- gross profit was 18.5% of sales, a decline from 23.6% a year ago
- SG&A expenses were down 26%
- R&D expenses down 38%
- Current debt is $1.311 billion
- Graphic Communications Group sales were down 24% (this is division that makes controllers and product print systems)

Pitney Bowes reported its last quarter’s financials:
- revenue was $1.38 billion compared with $1.59 billion a year ago
- reduced its debt by $179 million
- U.S. Mailing revenue declined 8%
- Equipment sales declined 7%
- Software revenue declined 12%

EFI announced results of its last quarter’s financials:
- revenues were $90 million compared with $186 million a year ago
- a net loss of $13.3 million
- CEO, Guy Gecht, stated “main disappointment for the quarter was the delay in shipping the Vutek GS3200” (this is a $600,000 high speed wide format color inkjet system)
- Reduced operating expenses by 22%

EFI announced it had won its legal battle against Zurich American Insurance Co. and Old Republic Insurance Corp. The two companies claimed that they were not obligated to cover a $19 million settlement in a shareholder derivative class action

PrintWeek magazine reports that Heidelberg and Manroland are considering a merger. Both are large offset press makers, who are suffering due to the slow economy. However, the German government may not approve this supposed merger, due to antitrust concerns.

Lexmark launched a new option for some of its printers, which will allow the devices to print on RFID material. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) technology is used in tags that allow companies to track their assets. RFID tags can be placed into a special $2499 drawer option, so that the Lexmark printer can print an ID number on the tag.

In his memoir, Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet networking, gave some history on how he first tried marketing his new product:
- DEC said; “Yes, but we’re gonna have to be sure that you know how to build stuff because we wouldn’t want to buy junk. We’re a serious computer maker. We need to check all your
manufacturing processes”
- IBM said; “Get the hell out of here. We’re not doing business with you. We think Ethernet is junk. We’re gonna do the token ring. We were selling millions of Ethernet cards to buyers of IBM PCs without IBM’s permission.” (IBM eventually discontinued Token Ring in favor of Ethernet)
- Apple ordered 300 units, but required that they be external boxes made with lots of metal. “I believe that all 300 of them are out there in the San Francisco Bay right now, serving as boat anchors,
holding yachts in place”

Kyocera announced a connector to allow its MFPs to work with CutCom’s SentryFile document management software.

Kyocera announced that it would relabel a product from Ricoh. The new Kyocera FS-C1020MFP, a desktop color laser MFP, is actually the Ricoh Aficio SP C232SF. (since it is made by Ricoh, it uses organic drum, and not Kyocera’s amorphous ceramic silicon drum)

Kyocera now shipping its new color laser MFPs, the TASKalfa 750C, 650C & 550C offering:
- 750C offers 75ppm b/w & 65ppm color
- 650C offers 65ppm b/w & color
- 550C offers 55pm b/w & color
- All three are actually relabeled Toshiba color laser MFPs (and therefore do not use Kyocera’s amorphous ceramic silicon long life drums, but instead use organic drums which Kyocera normally says is inferior technology)
- product marketing manager for the new products is Danielle Wolowitz
- all come with 10.4” touch screen color LCD display
- optional EFI Fiery print controller (this is unusual, as in the past Kyocera did not offer Fiery)
- Standard built-in print controller (Peerless technology), has 80GB hard drive, and 1.2GHz processor
- 100 sheet document feeder


A company that sells generic toner and ink, announced that it has created a free website for end users to solve their printer problems. PrintCountry.com launched a new site on YouTube with videos showing printer users how to solve common print driver issues, which they hope will drive more traffic to their consumables website.

Sharp reported details on its past financial quarter’s performance:
- reported a 20% drop in sales, down to $6.32 billion
- reported a loss of $266 million, as compared to a profit of $262 million a year ago
- Office technology sales down 14%
- announced a joint venture with Sony to sell large sized color LCDs

Sharp launched the FO-2080 desktop A4 b/w system featuring:
- 20ppm top speed
- Copy/fax/print/scan
- Two paper drawers
- Letter/legal size only
- 50 sheet bypass
- Auto duplex standard
- Button Manager is a built-in utility which offers scan to OCR

1 comment:

Saoirse said...

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