erox recently unveiled a new product line and pricing strategy, and company executives said they aim to expand the vendor's channel presence by starting to ship multifunction devices through general distribution.
At a launch event at New York's Marriott Marquis Hotel on April 30, Xerox rolled out 21 new and refreshed products, including a new line of WorkCentre and WorkCentre Pro multifunction devices for network solutions.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based document technology vendor also introduced the Office Document Assessment service, through which certified Xerox consultants will help business customers evaluate and streamline their document workflow environments.
Anne Mulcahy, chairman and CEO of Xerox, told launch attendees that helping companies keep costs and business practices in line will prove key to helping those businesses grow.
"I can tell you firsthand that business-as-usual will not make it happen," said Mulcahy, who's been working for two years to re-energize Xerox after it suffered a series of financial setbacks, including a depressed market capitalization. "I've seen the need to improve performance or be overtaken by the wave of change."
Xerox's expanded line of WorkCentre multifunction devices will combine copying and network printing,with options for scanning, faxing and e-mail,at a starting price of $899.
Xerox has offered printers through the channel for several years, but on May 5 the vendor started offering several of its lower-end multifunction devices,the F-12, M-15 and M-59,through "Phase I" distribution.
Robert Stewart, vice president of worldwide marketing at Xerox, said he expects up to 200 solution provider partners to qualify for this phase of the program.
The next phase,general distribution,is expected to go live by early fall, said Stewart, adding that he hopes IT solution providers will help Xerox move more quickly into the small- and midsize-business markets with those targeted offerings.
The $899 M-15, for example, is a desktop copier/printer with direct-connect printing to a laptop or PC and a network printing option, and it's being targeted at accounts that are adopting multifunction technology for the first time, Stewart said.
But not all of the vendor's channel partners are in favor of its new strategy.
"As far as distributing through channels, I'm against that," said John Klesney, owner of Image-Tel, a Gaylord, Mich.-based Xerox-authorized reseller and agent. Klesney said he thinks his business would be hurt if the lower-end Xerox products are opened up to distribution.
Xerox previously tried to enter the SOHO space through distribution but wound up abandoning that effort, he said.