There is a strong rumour doing the rounds that one leading printer manufacturer based in the States, whose business concentrates exclusively on the tree-destroying products, is getting into financial difficulties over falling margins on its large volume of sales. It's not yet time to toetag the company as dead and buried - its market share is still not to be sneezed at - but some movement in its local channel is lubricating the scuttlebutt machine.
It is said that, locally, this manufacturer has recently seen one of its major distribution partners head elsewhere after a pricing dispute with the reseller. The reseller claims to be looking for a company that markets its own technology.
And therein lies the problem. Using someone else's technology means a manufacturer is not totally in control of its manufacturing overheads and can therefore only improve efficiencies but not component costs. Consequently, it faces the choice of either reducing infinitesimally small margins even further or concentrating on consumable margins - a move which tends to eliminate a lot of repeat customers.
Consumers who get clipped on their consumable purchases while on the swing tend to go looking for alternative products next time they are on the roundabout. One thing is for sure: there are plenty of printer vendor vultures circling for the scraps if the limping giant becomes a carcass.