Moore Is More For New Xerox CTO Vandebroek

Sophie Vandebroek, who Xerox announced will become the company&'s CTO effective Jan. 1, succeeding the retiring Herve Gallaire, also said the channel will remain a foremost concern as she shapes the Stamford, Conn.-based company&'s R&D strategy.

“Having really exceptional and really good strategic partners is very critical to the future of our business; it&'s critical to our strategy going forward,” Vandebroek told CRN in an interview. She said the company has invested in not only cutting-edge and “disruptive” technologies, but technologies throughout its lineup that are also channel-friendly.

Vandebroek holds nine patents and is in her second tour of duty at Xerox. She held the post of CTO at Carrier, Farmington, Conn., from 2000 to 2002 before returning to Xerox. Prior to that, she was at the document company from 1991 to 2000.

Jim Vaughn, president of Vaughn Business Systems, a Hilton Head, S.C.-based solution provider and Xerox dealer, said he believes the company needs to stay the course in its R&D work while trying to limit its bureaucracy. Vaughn said he believes Xerox&'s technology to date has been a competitive advantage.

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“In terms of being able to sell the technology I'll push a Xerox over a Samsung, which is my second-largest brand, because they hang on a network in a much more sophisticated way,” Vaughn said. “Hewlett-Packard is the standard, but they aren&'t aggressive in trying to find new solutions. They&'ve got great products, but they aren&'t as innovative, in my mind, as Xerox.”

Among the challenges facing Xerox is competition from rivals including HP, which earlier this year unveiled new print head technology. HP said that technology greatly improved performance and quality and is akin to microprocessor technology in its ability to spray highly concentrated amounts of ink on a page. HP executives said the technology puts its products and the industry into a Moore&'s Law scenario, in which performance doubles while pricing drops significantly every couple of years. Vandebroek said she believes Xerox&'s own solid-ink cartridge technology keeps it well-positioned against HP&'s new print head, but also agrees with the need for a Moore&'s Law approach to document technology.

Despite Xerox&'s hard times, and efforts made by the company to cut expenses, Vandebroek said she does not believe Xerox&'s R&D efforts have been hurt. “I do not believe we have narrowed the breadth and scope of our research and development,” she said.