Xerox Launches Lower-Cost Printers

Xerox is launching new printers that feature fast printing speeds, new technologies, and competitive price points. The new devices will be introduced at the company's annual product, customer, and analyst gala in New York.

Hewlett-Packard remains the market share leader in printers overall, but the new products show Xerox is keeping the pressure on HP, analysts say.

"Xerox is showing that it can continue to innovate in the office printer market," says Peter Grant, an analyst with market researcher and consulting group Gartner.

Product Details

The new printers, according to Xerox, include the following:

The Phaser 4500, a black-and-white laser printer, is available immediately worldwide at a starting price of $979. It offers 36 pages per minute, 1200 dpi, and a 400-MHz processor.

The Phaser 8400, a color printer also is immediately available worldwide at a starting price of $999. The 8400 has as much as 512MB of memory, automatic two-sided printing, a 500-MHz processor, and USB 2.0, parallel, and Ethernet connectivity.

The Phaser 7750 color laser printer, now available starting at $5599. It prints at 35 pages per minute, runs on a 715-MHz processor, comes with USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectivity, and can print at 1200 dpi.

"In printers, HP is clearly the dominant player, and it does not seem to be messing up its lead, but Xerox's new Phaser 8400 hits that magic sub-$1000 price point, where you see a wide range of customer interest, with very good performance for a color printer," says Keith Kemitz, an analyst with market research company IDC, who was briefed by Xerox.

Sales Strategy

The sub-$1000 products, however, point to a gap in Xerox channel strategy, which is its absence from the retail market, analysts say. Though Xerox got out of the retail market to focus on office systems, the new sub-$1000 products suggest that the company would do well to consider getting back into retail distribution, at least in limited way, say both Kemitz and Gartner's Grant.

"Xerox is not going to compete with low-end Minolta systems, for example, but the new Phaser is a product that could appeal to customers such as small businesses who want something more robust than a $500 printer, and would be willing to spend up to about $1000," Kemitz says.

Analysts do not expect Xerox to start selling through retail superstores, but office-product stores might afford a good venue for its lower-cost office systems, they say.

More details on new products and additional services that Xerox is launching are expected during the day-long event in New York, where Xerox executives including Anne Mulcahy, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, are scheduled to speak.

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