Apr 30, 2013
Yesterday Kodak and the U.K. Based Kodak Pension Plan (KPP) made news. Resolving their financial issues was only one element but surprisingly KPP ended up owning key Kodak businesses. In its release Kodak stated the following: “Eastman Kodak Company announced a settlement agreement with the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan (KPP).” KPP is Kodak’s largest creditor with respect to its Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization. Under the agreement, which will be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Kodak’s Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses will be spun off under new ownership to KPP.”
“The settlement agreement provides, among other things, for the spin-off of Kodak’s Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses to KPP for cash and non-cash consideration of $650 million. Certain proceeds will be used to support the emergence of Kodak from Chapter 11 and the growth of its Commercial Imaging business. The agreement also settles approximately $2.8 billion of claims by KPP against Kodak and certain of its affiliates.”
“The agreement will be implemented as part of Kodak’s Chapter 11 plan in the United States. At the consummation of the spin-off, Kodak and its worldwide affiliates will be released from their obligations to KPP. The UK Pensions Regulator (“the Regulator”) has been kept fully informed of this process and the Regulator has granted clearance in respect of the acquisition. The Regulator has decided that it will approve the release of Kodak Limited, the KPP’s sponsoring employer, from its liabilities to the KPP and the UK Pension Protection Fund has confirmed that it has no objection. Closing of the transaction is subject to the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, approval by the Regulator and the satisfaction or waiver of other conditions precedent.” Read more »
Apr 15, 2013
Efi Arazi, print industry pioneer, luminary, and philanthropist who set the digital revolution in motion in the Graphic Communications filed died this past weekend at the age of 76.
Efi Arazi 1937-2013
Efi was born in Jerusalem in 1937 and already at the young age of just over 16 won a reward for technology innovation in Israel. He earned an engineering degree in the 1960s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; while there he helped develop the TV camera that was used in the Apollo 11 mission. At the age of 23 he became a fellow at Harvard University.
Efi returned to Israel in 1967 and the following year he founded and headed Scitex Corporation an Israel-based multi-national company that specialized in developing and manufacturing hardware and software for the graphics design, printing, and publishing markets. Efi stepped down as CEO and president of Scitex on June 1, 1988, but continued to serve as chairman of the board of directors of the company until 1989. Read more »
Apr 4, 2013
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Kirtsaeng vs. Wiley, ruled that under US law there is international exhaustion regarding copyright under the first sale doctrine. In terms of copyright, products legally sold outside the US exhaust the copyright in the US. However, the large majority of issues related to the cartridge remanufacturing industry are patent related and not copyright. This decision did not impact patents. However, it is the first step that would need to happen in terms of changes in case law that would impact the cartridge remanufacturing industry based on cases known to be coming down the line. From the point of view of patent exhaustion for cartridges, and whether remanufacturers can legally sell remanufactured cartridges in the US when they are made from cartridges that were first sold outside the US, or whether they need to track the first sale location at all, Wiley was the first case that remanufacturers needed to answer that question.
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Mar 28, 2013
At the end of Q1 each year we review the performance of the main players in the document imaging industry. Unfortunately not all vendors provide clear and transparent financial information for their document business so a few companies are always excluded. The table below shows the operating profits of 10 vendors’ imaging and printing divisions over the last three years. All information has been extracted from publicly available sources and converted to a calendar year view to provide a like-for-like comparison. Therefore, the figures may not correspond exactly with vendor quoted numbers for their own financial years.*
Operating profits down, no mention of MPS
The 2010 to 2012 operating profit trend is clearly down, across the board. The explanations that accompany publication of performance data have not yet started to recognise the impact of managed print services (MPS).
Imaging and Printing Operating Profits, 2010 to 2012*
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Mar 18, 2013
Part five: Overall experience
Over the last month or so, I have blogged about my experience using HP’s new Officejet Pro X576dw MFP; I’ve also discussed my colleagues’ first impressions of the new page-wide inkjet device. The purpose of this activity has been to evaluate what it’s like using the device day-to-day in a typical office—not to provide a technical review of the product.
Officejet Pro X576dw
On the whole, my colleagues and I have been very happy with our experience of the MFP. Not only was the device easy to handle, unpack, set up, and use, but it is delivering output at the level we require for more than 10 users. Granted, most of these users are not printing every day, but it has been reassuring to find that the X576dw can function perfectly well as a primary print device in our environment.
The purpose of this fifth and final blog post is to provide an overview of InfoTrends’ experience using the MFP. We will highlight what we consider to be the key advantages of the product as well as some areas where things could perhaps be improved a little. Read more »
Mar 11, 2013
As a marketer I am constantly on the lookout for customer insight. Recently there have been two articles in the UK that resulted in inkjet printer customers willingly sharing what they believe, how they feel, and how these factors drive their behaviour. This is marketing gold dust: customer comments, people’s own words, no manufacturer influence—all without charge. For this reason I wanted to highlight and share two articles.
On February 23rd the Guardian published a piece focusing on the alleged reduction in ink volume in genuine inkjet cartridges. It appears that the Mail Online saw the Guardian article and ran with the idea, publishing its own interpretation on March 4th titled “The great printer rip off: Ink costs more than vintage champers—and devious new tricks mean you constantly have to buy refills.” The author discusses the declining volume of ink being put into cartridges in a style clearly designed to elicit a particular response from the readership. Whilst there is certainly bias resulting from the not very well hidden agenda, the comments are nevertheless instructive, and it is the responses that are my primary interest.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pooniesphotos/4605714856
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Mar 5, 2013
Part four: Print quality
Based on my experience so far using HP’s new Officejet Pro X576dw MFP, as well as that of my colleagues, it appears that the page-wide inkjet device is proving to be perfectly suited to the needs of our office. During our usage in the last couple of weeks we have paid particular attention to the quality of printed output.
My colleague Cathy and I started out by printing a blog post in each of the device’s three different print modes: general office, professional, and presentation. The quality of text did not appear to vary significantly across modes; in all cases, the text was black, crisp, and sharp, and dried immediately. “The text looks good, even in the lowest mode,” Cathy observed. Given that the lowest mode uses the least amount of ink, this is good news for organizations that frequently print text documents.
Blog post printed in general office, professional, and presentation modes
Other colleagues seemed to agree that text looks good, including my colleague Carrie who printed out a PowerPoint presentation for an upcoming client meeting. “The text was sharper than I’d say I usually see from an inkjet,” she said (Carrie has an HP Photosmart device at home).
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Feb 26, 2013
Xerox did the right thing today by acquiring Impika. Everyone knows Xerox has a major hole in their product line and technology portfolio related to production inkjet printing. They have been lapped by HP, Ricoh, Canon/Océ, Kodak and EFI and risked being shut out from this lucrative market given the limitations of their solid ink technology.
InfoTrends estimates over 90 billion pages were printed on high volume continuous feed color digital presses (inkjet or EP, 10 million+ monthly duty cycle) in 2012 and that the market will exceed 500 billion pages by 2017.
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Part three: The device’s usability
In my previous blog post I discussed the experience of unpacking and setting up an HP Officejet Pro X page-wide inkjet device (the X576dw MFP). In this post I will be sharing my thoughts about the device’s usability. Before delving into this topic, I’d like to clarify that my background is not in the office print industry but rather journalism and communications. Having only been at InfoTrends for a little over a year, I have not seen dozens of printers and MFPs in action over the years like many of my colleagues who are print and document industry veterans. In fact I’d like to think that my non-print industry background makes me representative of real-world customers/the typical office-based knowledge workers that will be the users of the Officejet Pro X.
Typical office workers
As a typical office user, I value technology that is easy to use and after using the Officejet Pro X576dw I can definitely say that usability is a major benefit of this device. It was very easy for me to set up and use a wide range of functions, including printing from a PC, printing from a smartphone, printing from cloud apps, printing from a USB drive, scanning to a PC, scanning to a USB drive, scanning to email, scanning to a network folder, and copying. I wasn’t able to try out the device’s fax functionality as our copy room doesn’t have a phone line available. Nevertheless, the inclusion of fax, as well as all the other functions, is a key selling point of the device. The fact that these functions are so simple and straightforward to use is really the icing on the cake. Read more »
Feb 20, 2013
Part two: Setting up the device and installing the drivers
As I explained in my last blog post, over the next couple of weeks I will be writing about the experience of using an HP Officejet Pro X page-wide inkjet device (the X576dw MFP). The last post discussed the process of handling and unpacking the newly released device. This post will address the experience of setting up the MFP and installing the drivers.
In the first blog post I said I was a little surprised to see polystyrene foam used to protect the printer, given HP’s leadership in a variety of “green” areas, and its usage of cardboard in other packaging. HP read that blog and has been kind enough to respond with an explanation. HP says that “Molded pulp cushion is well utilized when unit weight is up to 12 pounds. The Officejet Pro X is well beyond that weight limit. Some of our typical small size/light weight products can use molded pulp, but not all; product fragility is also a factor. With units over 12 pounds, the MP (molded pulp) does not provide enough cushioning in drop tests.”
We thank HP for that response. It highlights an important issue—in a world where people are green-conscious, it is easy for people to reach a negative conclusion, perhaps unfairly. It may be advisable for all vendors to communicate why certain materials are being used in their packaging. A simple sticker on polystyrene explaining why alternatives were not suitable could suffice.
The experience of setting up the device and installing drivers was fairly simple. The first step was opening the ink cartridge door, removing an orange shipping restraint, inserting the ink cartridges, and closing the ink cartridge door. The shipping restraint came right out and the cartridges went in nice and smoothly.
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