Very occasionally the planets circling the sun in our solar system simultaneously cross paths and appear to align. On May 5, 2000, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus and the Moon did just that and appeared to line up across the night sky, sparking predictions of mass floods, violent seismic activity and general bedlam on earth.
While those who feared calamity cowered in their basements, others grabbed the opportunity to bear witness to a spectacular cosmic coincidence not forecast to reoccur until the year 2675.
Oddly enough this cosmic ballet has certain parallels here on earth where, very occasionally, a range of different forces combine to offer a sudden but short-lived opportunity for anyone who's ready for the challenge.
The market for colour laser multifunction devices is currently offering precisely such an opportunity to ready resellers. After years languishing behind cheaper inkjet models, colour laser multifunction devices (MFDs) became one of the hottest print categories on offer last year. Clocking up growth of 47.6 per cent, according to IT market research group IDC, these devices are expected to continue to do well throughout 2006.
Associate analyst of hardware for IDC, Katarzyna Czubak, said growth in this segment was the culmination of substantial price reductions, and subsequent opening up of new markets.
The majority of this had occurred across the low end of the market.
While value of the sector was still growing, it had not yet caught up to growth in units, she said.
"Colour laser MFDs are partly growing in market share, but not completely at the behest of other technologies," Czubak said. "They seem to be opening a new segment in the market."