February was an active news month, particularly for dealer acquisitions. But one acquisition stood out above and beyond all others—Staples acquisition of DEX. At the same time, we continued to track what was taking place at Xerox, offering our analysis and commentary on what’s been taking place the past 12+ months in a series of what was originally planned as four articles but expanded to five by the time we were done.
In case you missed our coverage, these represent the Top 10 stories of the month of February in the order in which they were published. Be sure and click on the “Read more” link at the end of each entry to read the story in full. And for a recap of other industry news for February, click on the “Live Wire” heading on our home page.
Feb. 1 – Is Xerox on the Verge of a Kodak Moment? That is one of several questions underlying the comments from an array of industry professionals on the heels of the mid-December round of layoffs and force reductions at Xerox. The immediate result has been a less-than-good winter for many who worked for the empire built on electrophotographic printing and copying. Through off-the-record phone calls and emails with multiple credible sources, The Cannata Report has garnered details and impressions of the latest changes at Xerox, along with perspectives on what the future may hold for the iconic brand. Erstwhile employees, being understandably circumspect in their comments, mostly say that the reduction in force was on one hand a relief, while on the other a sad moment in what was for many the end of a career that may have been more than 30 years in length. Read more.
Feb. 4 – Pondering Xerox’s Questionable Moves – Our first article, in the Xerox series, clearly defines the question of what is going to happen to Xerox. We all know Carl Icahn’s history of buying and then selling companies in pieces. It seems to have worked well for him and his partners as well as his fellow investors in the past. Over the years, we have approached questions like this by looking through the prism of the dealer. Many of us thought that the most profitable piece of Xerox was Global Imaging Systems (GIS). Based on the latest news out of Xerox, GIS has been integrated into XBS. For all intents and purposes, Global does not exist anymore. Read more.
Feb. 6 – Global Warning: Beyond Xerox’s Rebranding of GIS – A few years ago, a dealer from any city U.S.A. (the name of the city has been omitted to protect the dealer) was sold to Global Imaging Systems (GIS). After the sale, he and his employees remained, operating a successful business and serving long-time customers as they had as an independent operation. That changed in early January when Xerox notified him that his GIS branch was being consolidated along with other GIS branches in the region into a single regional GIS business unit. In a cruel twist of fate, that entrepreneur who had built a successful business and developed many close customer relationships, was now out of a job. Fortunately, many of his employees were assigned roles in the new consolidated XBS organization. Read more.
Feb. 13 – Staples Acquires Imaging Distribution – On February 8, 2019, the word came out that Staples had signed an agreement to acquire DEX Imaging. As the news broke it shook up the industry and organizations, including manufacturers and vendors of all stripes. Those with the deepest concerns where those who had partnered with DEX, such as Canon, HP and Konica Minolta. According to the release, Dan Doyle, Jr., president and CEO of DEX Imaging, Dan Doyle, Sr., chairman of DEX Imaging, and their existing executive team will continue to lead the business going forward. That settles the leadership issue and speaks well for the success of this rather significant acquisition/merger. It is obvious that Staples did not acquire DEX so that it could remain a regional player. Read more.
Feb. 14 – Staples, Yeah, We Got DEX – No one saw this coming. And when it did the press and analyst community covering the imaging industry found themselves dizzy with delight and salivating like rabid dogs over an opportunity to wax prolific over the biggest story of the year to date. News travels fast in our industry, and many of us began hearing rumblings about this acquisition mid-afternoon on Friday, February 8. Dealers were sending us emails asking if we had heard anything within an hour after DEX employees were notified. By 4 p.m. we had received a copy of an internal email sent by Dan Doyle Jr. to DEX employees about the acquisition and confirmation from sources in the industry who had heard from DEX employees as well as prognostications from clients that matched some of our own. Read more.
Feb. 15 – Did We Make a Mistake About Xerox? – After the first three articles in our Xerox series with comments from off the record sources presenting their perspectives, as well as our speculation as to the fate of the company, we might have been premature in how things may play out. Most of the commentary and speculation was less than positive. However, those perspectives allowed individuals impacted by various initiatives that have taken place inside the company during the past 12 months to tell it like it is or was even if it wasn’t always pretty. But after attending the Xerox Investor’s Day conference at the New York Stock Exchange on February 5, we, or at least I am tempering some of my concerns regarding the future of the company. Read more.
Feb. 19 – The EFI Connected Dealer – Luis Villa, vice president of production and industrial print for Atlantic, Tomorrows Office in New York City, is no stranger to the EFI Connect conference. He’s been attending the event for the past seven years. He joined Atlantic nine years ago after spending three years working for Ricoh’s production print business group. At Atlantic, Villa manages 20 production technicians and four production print analysts. He oversees installations as well as handles all pre- and post-presentations and demonstrations of production and industrial print devices. For the record, industrial print at Atlantic encompasses EFI’s wide-format devices. After socializing with Villa during the opening night of Connect, we connected with him for a telephone interview the week after to get his impressions of the conference and why he feels it’s important for dealers to send production and industrial print specialists like him to the conference. Read more.
Feb. 20 – 10 Takeaways from Canon’s Media & Analysts Event – One of the challenging aspects of covering an industry event is when we are asked what do you think at the conclusion of the event? Fortunately, not everyone asks that question, but when they do, some of us find it best to roll out some little white lies about how valuable it was, how compelling the content was, and blah, blah, blah. Admittedly, some of us will tell it exactly like it is when asked that question, and even put it in writing after the fact. Some of those colleagues don’t get invited back. I am happy to report that no white lies or evasive answers were necessary about Canon’s Media & Analyst Event on February 12. It was a morning of solid content packed into four hours of presentations, including compelling insights from customers and a dealer. The four-hour program was followed by optional half-hour 1:1 briefings with Canon executives, enabling those of us who took advantage of these briefings to take a deeper dive into the morning’s content. With all the information, it’s a challenge narrowing my list down to 10 takeaways, but here goes. Read more.
Feb. 22 – No, We Did Not Make a Mistake About Xerox – Our esteemed editor-in-chief suggested we might have made a mistake in our previous installments in this series on Xerox when theorizing that current Xerox management has one objective and that is to either sell the company whole or carve it up into pieces. Scott is a seasoned veteran journalist in this industry so his point of view must be considered. And it is always a good thing to have a difference of opinion as it causes you to review your rationale for writing what could only be construed as a negative piece about a company. Scott posed the question so let me continue to offer more detailed evidence as to why I believe we did not make a mistake in our original commentary. Read more.
Feb. 25 – Dealers Discuss Industry Acquisitions Frenzy – Each year we ask a different group of dealers to weigh in on a host of topics relevant to dealers. The intent is to provide different and diverse perspectives from across the country and from dealerships of different sizes. In our print edition, our panel responded to a variety of questions, including their biggest challenges, diversification, and the viability of production and industrial print. Here, they offer their views on acquisitions. Depending on the panelist, and whether or not they are an acquirer, thinking about making acquisitions, or have been acquired, we asked them a different question regarding acquisitions. Read more.
Feb. 27 – Do Dealers Give a Damn about Security and Cybersecurity? – Each year we ask a different group of dealers to weigh in on a host of topics relevant to dealers. The intent is to provide different and diverse perspectives from across the country and from dealerships of different sizes. In our print edition, our panel responded to questions about their biggest challenges, diversification, acquisitions, and the viability of production and industrial print. Here, we ask them a question tied into the theme of the February issue: “There’s a lot of talk about security and cybersecurity across the industry, is this something your customers are asking about and if or when they do, what are you telling them about how your dealership approaches security?” Read their responses.
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