Lexmark, Xerox Gear Up For Battle

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The battle for the channel by multifunction product makers has begun, with Xerox moving toward its commitment to ship its products through the channel this fall and rival Lexmark launching its own new all-in-one device.

Lexmark executives said earlier this month that the company will ship a new multifunction device and a print server, both at low price points, to supplement its existing line of printers.

The Lexington, Ky.-based company said its X215 "all-in-one" laser will combine print, scan and fax capabilities,its first such offering for the segment, said Michael Pollard, manager of printing solutions at Lexmark.

The X215 features 17-ppm monochrome printing capability, a 33.6-bps stand-alone fax, and color or monochrome scanning. It will be packaged as offering a "one-touch, PC-free copying capability" that could fit into small and midsize accounts "where consolidation is key for cost savings," Pollard said.

Lexmark launches all-in-one device; Xerox ships multifunction units via channel

Lexmark next month also plans to begin shipping its n4000e print server,a low-cost, Ethernet print server designed to connect either Lexmark printers or third-party printers to a network. The n4000e is slated to be available Sept. 9 through the channel and will be priced at less than $150.

For its part, Stamford, Conn.-based Xerox has been shipping its M15 and M15i multifunction systems into a channel pilot program since just before the products launched on April 30. The entry price on those products is $899.

Competition in the multifunction space has become somewhat intense, causing some solution providers to base partnering decisions on issues apart from brands or products.

Jim Victorin, president of Victorin Business Systems, who is authorized with both Lexmark and rival Hewlett-Packard, has been opting for more HP products largely because of changes in Lexmark's channel policies.

He also said that Lexmark has prohibited him and other dealers from selling supplies, which has made him look at other vendors.

"We sell the multifunction [products] basically through HP," Victorin said. "We were strictly a Compaq [dealer], but with the [HP] merger it's opened up a lot of avenues through HP."

Said Frank Peiritsch, owner of Advanced Technical Sales, Pittsburgh, a solution provider with relationships with both Lexmark and Xerox: "The multifunction line was more of a lower-end [line] at one time. They seem to start enhancing those products more and more, and more customers are taking a look at them as more of a professional product than a toy."

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