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Gartner: IBM Gains an Edge Over HP With New Color Printers, Trails Xerox

Press release from the issuing company

February 12, 2002 - Ken Weilerstein of Gartner says the two new color models that fill out IBM's line of workgroup printers could prevent some IBM customers from looking to Hewlett-Packard and other vendors for printers. The “first take” evaluation refers to IBM’s Infoprint Color 1228 and 1220 models. “The Infoprint Color 1220 prints at up to 20 pages per minute (ppm) in color or monochrome, or 10 ppm at 1,200 dots per inch. It offers three settings to help save toner and a lockdown feature to control the use of color. The price on IBM's Web site is $3,096. The Infoprint Color 1228, with similar features, also provides wide-format printing (e.g., for brochures) and prints at up to 28 ppm in color or monochrome. The Web site price is $4,128. “For many years, IBM's best computer hardware and service customers have bought their workgroup printers from someone else. Most large buyers chose Hewlett-Packard (HP) or Lexmark International in part because IBM offered no color workgroup printers. Color lasers form the fastest-growing category of workgroup printers, and any vendor that wants serious consideration by corporate customers must offer color. Color laser and LED printers represent the only alternative to the wasteful ink jet printers that enterprises want to stamp out. “IBM, which long sourced its printers from Xerox, switched to Lexmark as its supplier in June 2001. New designs from Lexmark gave IBM a technological edge, and the two new printers will further boost the competitiveness of its workgroup laser printers. They use the latest single-pass technology to deliver speeds of 20 ppm and 28 ppm in both color and monochrome. (Since single-pass printers trade print quality for speed, they better suit general office output than the work of the graphic artists and designers who traditionally purchased color printers.) IBM has thus moved ahead of HP, which depends on the older multipass technology. HP will eventually come out with a single-pass model, but it may not appear for months and will probably be a first-generation design. Meanwhile, enterprise expectations for image quality, reliability and speed only increase. IBM trails Xerox, which offers single-pass and multipass as well as solid-ink workgroup printers. “Enterprises that did not choose IBM because it lacked color should now reconsider even though IBM still lacks multifunction devices (combining printing, copying, faxing and scanning). Enterprises should determine whether it makes more sense for them to bundle their printer service contract with their computer contracts (an approach favoring IBM) or to purchase workgroup printers together with multifunction products (favoring copier makers such as Canon, Ricoh and Xerox).” Gartner, Inc. is a research and advisory firm that helps more than 11,000 clients understand technology and drive business growth. Gartner's divisions consist of Gartner Research, Gartner Consulting, Gartner Measurement and Gartner Events. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and consists of 4,300 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in more than 90 locations worldwide. The company achieved fiscal 2001 revenue of $952 million.