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Xerox Partners: We're Going Back To Doing 'What We Do Best'

For the past few weeks, Xerox partners have watched a high-stakes drama play out. Now they say it's back to business and they're hopeful new leadership will reach out and discuss how to best serve customers.

With the dissolution of the Fujifilm deal and an apparent return to stability at the top for Xerox, the company's partners are looking forward to getting back to business.

"I'm just really glad that the public battlefield is going to be behind us, or at least not in the news all the time," said Troy Tafoya, president of Professional Document Solutions, a Fort Collins, Colo., solution provider and Xerox partner. "So that's really the best news out of it. I just hope that what they did is in the best interest of Xerox employees and our customers, and not just stock prices."

For the past few weeks, Tafoya and other Xerox partners have watched a high-stakes drama play out, as a $6 billion deal with Fujifilm and the leadership of the company have been key to the legal tug-of-war for control of the American icon.

That has seemingly come to an end, with the news Sunday that the company would stop talks with Fuji and that CEO Jeff Jacobson, as well as five board members, have resigned.

Josh Justice, president of JustTech, La Plata, Md. said both sides of the fight -- Carl Icahn's group and the previous board -- are cognizant of the role that channel partners play in the company's success, which gives him reason to be positive.

"I’m honestly glad the ambiguity is over and a permanent decision has been made as to the current leadership of Xerox and the board members," he said. "It is my hope that the new leadership will reach out to us, their partners, and discuss the best ways we can together serve our clients."

Tafoya said while some of Professional Document Solutions' larger customers had tuned into the boardroom fight, with its near-daily back and forth between Icahn and Xerox, most of his smaller customers were simply focused on their own business.

"It was like Groundhog Day," he said. "The board's in, the board's out. And I just hope that the new board that Xerox is going to have is invested in their partners and is looking for continued growth and doing what’s best to continue this iconic brand and make it as good as it can be."

The battle between the board and two billionaire stockholders -- Icahn and Darwin Deason -- reached a fever pitch two weeks ago when a settlement, that seemed to amicably end the fight, unraveled at the last minute. The renewed fighting led to another round of press statements and legal maneuvers and more uncertainty.

Solution providers said it was a distraction, as sales reps were not just armed with information about the company's latest products, but also talking points about the boardroom fight, meant to reassure customers that no matter what they read in the news or saw on television, partners would be there to help.

The news Sunday that Xerox replaced five board members, as well as the CEO, and abandoned efforts to sell the company to Fujifilm, ushered in a return to normal for their workday, partners said.

"I think the best thing is that it's settled," Tafoya said. "We can continue to do what we do best."

With Icahn's group in charge of Xerox, Tafoya and Justice said they expected to see developments focused on increasing Xerox share value.

"Carl Icahn’s proposal emphasized the need for Xerox’s partners in providing products and solutions, just as we do now," Justice said. "I advised my team to expect additional changes to be announced by Xerox but that I do not expect these changes to have a direct effect on us."

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