Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is Ricoh + IBM going to be the Walmart of Print?

In yesterday's post, I shared some data points about Ricoh and the different parts of the Print Output Network - copiers +MFPs + (MPS?) + Production equipment. I haven't yet found a PR release about a move into MPS, but I can't believe that's not happening. Ikon? IBM? The independent MPS segment?

Today I came across a piece about newspaper production and Fuji. The snippet is at the end of this post.

The last piece of the network is commercial print. Soon hybrid print and a frictionless flow between offset and digital will get to the ground. At the top of offset print are newspapers. That's what I love about Kodak.

My two cents to not-IBM and not-Ricoh
In previous post, I wrote that the Print Output Industry is the Walmart of Information. But given what I've been seeing lately ,I think it's going to be Ricoh that is going to be the Walmart of Print. They have a long range vision, very deep pockets, not too worried about stock valuations, once they move they can execute.
Consider they bought Ikon in October, it is today reported that Ricoh copiers have replaced Canon with a 90% share. That is execution!
Meanwhile, HP looks like it's going to be Tesco. Xerox, Kodak, Oce, Konica Minolta, and Canon are going to have to fight for what's left over. When you get to a large collection of niche markets it turns into a mass market. When the niches in the mass market incent each other, it becomes a value producing network. The more value the networks produce, the more revenue for the facilitators of that network.

Free advice to not-Ricoh nor IBM
HP - keep on keeping on. Nothing wrong with being Tesco.
Kodak - newspapers, newspapers, newspapers and network the photo sites with best of breed for everything else
Oce - books, books,transactional printing and network with best of breed for everything else.
Xerox - education, health, government and consider Xerox -Fuji in the US, India, Russia and Brazil and Fuji-Xerox in Japan and China.
Konika Minolta and Canon I haven't started following your companies, but from the little I've seen so far, consider tight collaboration with, or buying a piece of, Kodak, Oce or Xerox.

What will Google do?
To all, consider building alliances with Google. Become Google Apps resellers, Your sales channels will love you for it, plus it won't cost you a cent. Get your geniuses to start talking to Google's geniuses about the next version of Google Print Ads and about how Google Apps can be more closely connected to all kinds of Print Output.

And get ready for the crystallization of the Print Output industry in the next year or two.

Tipping points take many years for the groundwork. Then they happen in internet, not corporate, time. Consider that itt took 10 years to prepare the ground for the financial meltdown. It took a couple of months for Lehman to disappear.

FUJIFILM Intros New Thermal Plate for Newspaper Market - Printing Industry News
from WhatTheyThink:

"Thursday, March 12, 2009

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- FUJIFILM Graphic Systems U.S.A., Inc. announced today an addition to the company’s family of printing plates for the newspaper segment. The Fujifilm Brillia LH-NN2 thermal plate, which is designed specifically for longer runs, is now available nationwide."

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