In 2020, expect the same big names to dominate the copier market, including companies like Canon, Kyocera, Toshiba and Xerox. Also in the mix for market leaders are companies like Brother International, HP, Konica Minolta, Samsung, Epson and Dell. As they operate in a relatively established industry, these market leaders are unlikely to change much in the future.
As cloud-based technology has proliferated, though, the printer and copier industry has not been immune to the shift toward a digital-first mentality. Modern printers and copiers must exhibit connectivity with digital devices through the cloud, allowing users to print files directly from their mobile devices. Look for this trend to continue, as copiers that emerge in 2020 and beyond without this function are likely to fall behind.
Copiers have also been scrutinized by the movement toward "green" office culture. Expect copier manufacturers to continue to prioritize energy efficiency and recycled materials to reduce their environmental impact in 2020.
February 2020: One of the biggest changes in the copier industry this year is the potential merger of Xerox and HP; whether it's through a hostile takeover depends on who you ask. Since last November, Xerox has been actively seeking the merger with HP, initially offering $33.5 billion in cash and stock options. HP board members turned down the offer, claiming the proposal was considerably below the company's actual value, prompting Xerox to threaten taking a more aggressive acquisition tactic.
Last month, Xerox secured $24 billion in financing from major banks to fuel its $33 billion takeover. Earlier this year, Xerox increased its offer to $24 per share. In response, HP announced it would adopt a "poison pill" plan that would allow all shareholders to buy discounted shares in the event any group attempts to acquire more than 20% of the company's shares, thus diluting the company ownership.
March 2020: Though efforts to complete the merger had been ongoing for some time, Xerox vice chairman and CEO John Visentin announced in a press release earlier this month that the company was suspending its takeover efforts as the world deals with COVID-19. Citing the need to remain focused on the continuing crisis, Valentin said Xerox must "prioritize the health and safety of its employees, customers, partners and affiliates over and above all other considerations, including its proposal to acquire HP."
"As we closely monitor reports from government and healthcare leaders across the globe and work with colleagues in the business community to minimize the spread and impact of the virus, we believe it is prudent to postpone releases of additional presentations, interviews with media and meetings with HP shareholders so we can focus our time and resources on protecting Xerox's various stakeholders from the pandemic," he said.
The company also said the sharp economic declines felt on Wall Street earlier this month did not represent a "failure of any condition to [Xerox's] offer to acquire HP. Xerox will take the same view on any future temporary trading halts, unless otherwise stated in advance."
April 2020: Following up on its plans to halt its HP merger aspirations during the coronavirus pandemic, Xerox partnered with Vortran Medical Technology to bolster the production and distribution of disposable ventilators.
Xerox and Vortran said they expected to produce between 150,000 and 200,000 ventilators a month by June. Further, the two companies said they expected to produce "as many as 1 million ventilators in the coming months," according to officials.
"Our smartest minds met (virtually) with Vortran's smartest minds and figured out how to mass produce this critical technology," Visentin said in a press release. "We want to help make sure doctors, nurses and paramedics on the frontlines have the resources they need to help the rising number of patients with COVID-19."
Xerox's half of the partnership will include manufacturing the FDA-approved and APM-Plus devices at its Rochester, New York, facility, while Vortran will do its part at its current Sacramento, California, location.
"The partnership with Xerox has one clear goal – to help save as many lives as possible ... For all of us, this will be the most important thing we ever do," said Vortran co-founder and CEO Gordon A. Wong, MD.
May 2020: As states around the country reopen some sectors of the economy, copier manufacturers are still working to assist the global COVID-19 response.
In addition to teaming up with other companies to produce ventilators, Xerox announced it is manufacturing hospital-grade sanitizer for American and Canadian frontline healthcare workers. According to a press release, the company is using in-house materials and its capacity for manufacturing to produce "approximately 140,000 gallons of hand sanitizer by June 2020."
The first deliveries of hand sanitizer were expected at the end of April, with production taking place at Xerox’s Toronto and Rochchester, New York, facilities. The sanitizer will be distributed to resellers that were approved to sell directly to healthcare organizations.
Meanwhile, Konica Minolta announced that it would be working to help local communities and business customers "maintain business continuity" during the pandemic.
According to the manufacturer, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. and its IT services division, All Covered, will provide numerous methods to help solve issues as they come. The company says it will hold training to educate teachers on how to use G Suite and Office 365 to help with remote learning as well as reprogramming their Dremel 3D40 printer to "create and print air-filtering masks." Other efforts include testing its Mobotix Thermal TR cameras at a New York hospital to assess patient symptoms and using Double 2 Telepresence Robots to "enable remote telehealth sessions between doctors and patients."