The Year in Review: Acquisitions, Security, Business Inkjet, More

Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

There’s nothing like spending a little time in the first week of January to take a look at the preceding year in order to get a handle on what we might expect this year. For the office- and document-imaging industry, 2017 was characterized by these trends: continuing acquisitions and consolidation; the continuing importance of security; and copier/MFP vendors continuing to push their dealers to diversify – including from everything to developing apps, to providing IT services, to selling water coolers and even robots. For OEMs themselves, the trend was to continue to diversify into production and commercial printing, with, for instance, printers for printing on garments, signs, and packaging. Last year also saw the continuing advance of business inkjet into the office.

On the acquisition front, the main key acquisition last year was HP Inc.’s completion of its acquisition of Samsung Printing Solutions in November for $1.05 billion.

Other key acquisitions included:

  • Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A.’s acquisition of Muratec America in August. Konica Minolta Business Solutions France also acquired managed content services provider Numerial in November. Branching out of office-imaging, Konica Minolta of Tokyo acquired Ambry Genetics for $1 billion in July, while also in July, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. branched out of office-imaging with its acquisition of telephony company TLS.NET.
  • Kyocera Document Solutions America acquired OnBase Reseller DataBank in August.
  • Thoma Bravo acquired Lexmark’s software business, and Hyland acquired Lexmark’s Perceptive Software in July.
  • Xerox acquired and partnered with various dealers as part of it $100 million channel expansion.
  • Toshiba America resumed its office-equipment dealer strategy, acquiring Electro Imaging Systems in November.
  • Sharp Electronics also resumed its dealer-acquisition strategy, acquiring Federal Graphics in November, and Arista Business Technologies in September.
  • In the third-party supplies segment, Taiwan’s General Plastic Industrial acquired Katun in October, while Static Control acquired Ink Technologies in April. Also in April, Clover Imaging Group acquired DC Imaging’s ColorLabs Ink Innovations business.
  • Various copier dealers acquired other dealers, including Marco’s acquisition of Koestner Office Products in September, marking its 17th acquisition in the past three years.
  • In the office-supplies segment, private-equity firm Sycamore Partners announced it was buying Staples for $6.9 billion in June. Also in June, Office Depot announced it was selling its business in China.
  • Branching out of office-imaging, Canon Inc. completed its purchase of Toshiba Medical Systems in December 2016, and then acquired Toshiba Medical Finance in February 2017.
    Meanwhile, amid continuing reports of printer and copier hacking, security increasingly came to the forefront, with, for instance, IDC naming Xerox, HP, Lexmark and Ricoh leaders in security solutions in November.

On the legal front, the most influential case was Impression Products Versus Lexmark International, with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in what was seen as a huge win for the U.S. third-party printer-supplies industry that patent rights are extinguished after domestic and foreign sale.

In the managed print services (MPS) segment, Xerox continued to remain the global leader, according to Quocirca. Fueled by adoption by small and mid-size enterprises, the global MPS market is forecast to register a compound annual growth rate of 14.8 percent from 2016 to 2024, with the MPS market forecast to reach $94.97 billion by 2024, according to market-research firm Transparency Global Research.​

Last but not least – and somewhat surprisingly – the portable photo printer appears to have made a comeback, especially among millennials, with HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler noting positive results for its Sprocket portable photo printer in February, and Kodak and FujiFilm also introducing popular portable photo printers.

While past performance isn’t always an indicator of future performance, it appears that this year, as the industry continues to mature, acquisitions and consolidation will continue, as will MPS adoption, particularly among small and mid-size businesses. We’re also likely to see the continued push of business inkjet into the office, and the continued importance of securing printers and copier/MFPs.

While that was the year in review, this was the week in review:

Office-Imaging News

Cybercriminals Using Fake Printer/Scanners Emails with Malicious Attachments to Hack Userss – Read more here.

Kyocera First MFP/Printer provider to Receive ISMS Cloud Security Certification – Read more here.

rNew Konica Minolta bizhub C759 and bizhub C659 for High-Volume Color MFP Market – Read more here.

Legal Briefs

French Group ‘HOP’ Files Preliminary Planned Obsolescence Charges Against Epson – Read more here.

Commercial Copy Inks Patent-Licensing Agreement with Lexmark – Read more here.

Konica Minolta Alleges Former VP of Sales Broke Non-Compete, Kept Customer Info – Read more here.

Other News

Toshiba Finds Buyer for Westinghouse Nuclear-Power Business – Read more here.

Sharp Receives Tech Data Marketing and Sales Innovator of the Year Award – Read more here.

18 Technology Predictions for 2018 from Xerox PARC Researchers – Read more here.

Market-Research News

Driven by Mobile Workforce, Portable-Printer Market to Grow at 7.7 Percent Clip – Read more here.

Commercial- and Production-Printing News

Konica Minolta, Epic Products Partnering to Promote Digital Inkjet Production Printers – Read more here.


ECi Acquires Provider of Print-Management Solutions PrintFleet – Read more here.

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