It’s been a wild year in the imaging industry, but six stories truly stand out.
Can you believe we’re more than halfway through 2018 already? How the heck did we get here so soon? Anyway, here we are, and since we’re here let’s look at what we consider the top six stories of the year so far.
The Xerox Implosion – This is the story of the year that keeps on giving even though it’s impossible to keep up with what chapter we’re in even if we had a bookmark. For a period of time this was a story (The on again off again acquisition of Xerox by Fujifilm) that was changing daily. No sooner would you finish the story, a new development would occur, rendering the old story mute. As far as we can tell, this story has still yet to reach its climax. With activist shareholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason pulling the strings the future of Xerox doesn’t seem bright enough to wear shades, but if the Xerox Board and its activist shareholders eventually do begin to start flipping pieces of the company, duck and cover and keep those shades handy because there’s likely to be quite the flash and significant fallout.
Konica Minolta Acquires MWA – This might be the top story of the year if only Konica Minolta’s Rick Taylor and MWA’s Mike Stramaglio had added a lot more drama to the proceedings. But this acquisition has been decidedly drama free. We couldn’t have predicted Konica Minolta entering the ERP business earlier this year, but when you look at the clues, including Konica Minolta’s previous relationship with MWA, and the relationship between Taylor and Stramaglio, it all makes sense now.
A New Leader at Sharp – We were not surprised when we heard in May that President & CEO Doug Albregts was leaving the company for another opportunity, and we were even less surprised when we learned that Mike Marusic would be stepping into that role. Albregts departure was an unfortunate loss for Sharp and our industry, but Sharp and its dealers are in good hands with Marusic.
New President & CEO at KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Inc. – This came as a surprise. On July 25 it was announced that effective Sept. 1, Oscar Sanchez, executive vice president of KYOCERA Document Solutions Europe, will become president & CEO of KYOCERA Document Solutions America. Current President & CEO Yukio Ikeda will remain with the company in an executive role assisting Sanchez. The move coincides with Kyocera’s plans to build up its software and production print businesses as Sanchez has a strong software and business development background.
Feeding Frenzy: Acquisitions Continue at Rapid Pace – Big dealers and private equity money continue to acquire like mad. Since the beginning of the year, Visual Edge, Flexprint, Marco, Dex, and others have acquired more than 20 companies, including big and small dealers and Managed IT firms. From our perspective, these companies are just whetting their appetites and we expect to see many more acquisitions before the calendar year ends.
Kyocera Introduces High-Speed Inkjet Production Machine – File this under “Better Late Than Never.” If you’re going to be late to the high-speed production print game, you might as well come out of the gate with an impressive high-speed inkjet production device. That’s what Kyocera did in April even though the product won’t be reaching Kyocera dealers until early next year. No matter, with this introduction, Kyocera will now have some serious cred in the production space. And don’t be surprised if the company one day migrates that inkjet technology downwards into their product line.
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