Channelpartner.de claims Samsung is launching inkjet printers with Kodak technology

Christine Dunne
Apr 25, 2012

According to an article on channelpartner.de, Samsung is launching their first inkjet printers this week; although they will have Samsung’s own design and features they will use Kodak’s inkjet technology. Channelpartner.de received the news from the retail community, which is claiming that the Samsung consumer inkjet devices have already hit the shelves.

According to the article, the new devices have a print speed of 38 seconds per A4 page, simple image editing, and mobile print capabilities (including Google Cloud Print); they will retail for €89 to €149.

The new devices will complement Samsung’s lineup of laser printers, and incorporate a number of features from these devices. For example, Samsung’s new inkjet MFP has the same automatic document feeder that is used in Samsung laser MFPs. The new products will display Samsung labels with the words “with Kodak color technology.”

Analysts’ insight

This development comes as something of a surprise, yet we see several reasons why it potentially makes sense for both parties. Both vendors face separate challenges and there is little competitive overlap between the two.

Kodak

As has been well documented, Kodak has been unable to turn a profit on its consumer inkjet devices. Kodak doubtless recognizes the need for an augmented consumer inkjet strategy; allowing Samsung access to its inkjet technology might seem like a logical step toward achieving the critical market mass required for profitability. Samsung is expert at the consumer electronics business, and its existing network of channel partners extends into both high-growth regions across the globe as well as many of the advanced European markets where Kodak still has little inkjet presence. While Kodak has performed poorly in mainland Europe, Samsung has fared well–capturing the number two position for laser devices. We believe that Samsung’s momentum and consumer electronics expertise is something that Kodak cannot ever hope to achieve itself, and in that context the establishment of this inkjet partnership is understandable.

Samsung

While Samsung has been gaining laser market share throughout the world, it has lacked an inkjet offering. This could be perceived as a disadvantage from a consumer and channel point of view, particularly in regions where the interest in color printing is high. By establishing a line of inkjet printers using Kodak technology, Samsung is strengthening the total consumer portfolio and can trial this part of the business in a relatively low-cost, low-risk manner.

Final thoughts

It appears as though this deal could benefit both parties; still, we wonder if there is more than meets the eye here. The patent lawsuits Kodak has filed against Samsung have been well documented. It is not inconceivable that this arrangement could in some way be part of a wider settlement between the companies.

Whatever the facts of the matter, only time will tell if the partnership benefits either vendor. At this time the major unanswered question is around supplies pricing strategy: Will Samsung use Kodak’s supplies pricing strategy or opt for a more traditional approach? Dixons Stores Group in the UK chose the latter when introducing printers based on Kodak technology. Kodak’s supplies strategy is focused on those who print the highest numbers of pages. With Samsung pitching these models in the consumer space, it seems unlikely they would follow the Kodak ink model; consequently, Kodak could continue with the lowest cost of ink replacement claims.

Article written by Zac Butcher and Christine Dunne; additional insight provided by Andrew Carroll

Update: Samsung and Kodak confirmed their partnership in an April 26 press release.

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