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IBM Forestalls the Competition in Large Workgroup Printers

Press release from the issuing company

May 13, 2002 - According to Gartner analyst, Ken Weilerstein, IBM’s new printers for departmental use has advantages competitors do not have: native support for IBM print streams and one-stop shopping. Weilerstein offered Gartner’s first take on the subject. “On 30 April 2002, IBM announced the immediate availability of two cut-sheet multifunction printers (MFPs): * Infoprint 2085 prints up to 85 pages per minute (ppm) and lists for $55,000. * Infoprint 2105 prints up to 105 ppm and lists for $75,000. “Both printers include scanning and copying functions, and they support IBM's Intelligent Printer Data Stream (IPDS) as well as Hewlett-Packard's Printer Control Language and PostScript. “With this announcement, IBM has aimed an effective counterblow at competitors in the 70 to 105 ppm printer market. These "departmental" printers appeal to many enterprises that do some heavy-duty printing but not enough to justify investing $250,000 to $500,000 in a cut-sheet production printer. These printers also offer flexibility. During the day, departments can use them as copier/printers for office work, and at night, enterprises can use them to print reports or other big jobs. “Several copier companies (e.g., Canon and Ricoh) offer 70 to 105 ppm printers (sometimes misleadingly called "production printers") that do not satisfy enterprises entirely. The models they offer usually do not natively support IBM print streams, such as IPDS, but do so through third-party interfaces. Often enterprises must deal with copier dealers that have little experience with IBM print streams. This situation inconveniences many enterprises, given IBM's widespread presence in corporate IT systems. Xerox offers a departmental printer that does support IBM data streams, but enterprises still have to deal with a second vendor. “IBM has put out the new MFPs under its own brand name, and IBM will handle the service contract (although IBM has partnered with Konica on this initiative). Thus, IBM offers a more reliable product and a simpler vendor relationship. Enterprises should evaluate this offering if they use IBM systems and data streams and need departmental printers.” 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.