Best known in Australia for its monitors, Samsung is having a stab at a much larger presence in the laser printer market with a beefed-up 2002 range targeted at home, office and workgroup users.
Alan Macdonald, Samsung's product manager for print, fax and multifunction devices, said Samsung had only ever offered a couple of low-end lasers with its own branding, despite original equipment manufacturing for several of its competitors. Some of these products will now be appearing under more than one brand.
"We have expanded the range dramatically," Macdonald said of the new 12, 14 and 16 page-per-minute offerings. "The range will also be further enhanced later this year with higher-speed points and multifunction devices."
In the past, Samsung has been, fairly eclectic in terms of who it sold to, with a "fairly broad channel", which included some dealers buying direct and others who bought through distributors, according to Macdonald.
"We already have a channel but we are in the process of distribution reform," Macdonald said. "Ultimately, we want all resellers to buy through distributors and we will be announcing a tier-one wholesale partner in the very near future."
Macdonald said "the bulk of its business" was done through retailers in the past when it had "a very limited range". However, he feels the new higher-performance additions to the brand will also be much better suited to dealers and VARs servicing SME markets.
"There is still good money in reselling laser printers," Macdonald argues. "Users are very interested in total cost of ownership issues and we have addressed those issues. Printers also offer great annuity revenues through supplies [toner cartridges, for example]."
Macdonald would not be drawn on how much market share he is hoping to secure but he did say that the marketing approach would be "aggressive". He cited the vendor's success in the TFT monitor market, where it is now the number-three player.
"Samsung is a large company that has proven its ability to develop leading-edge technology," he said. "We are not overly concerned about the market share. We are just concentrating on getting the channel model right.
"With the support we are receiving from Korea, I am expecting that we will be one of the market leaders in the printer space within the next couple of years."
Samsung's new range starts at $599 (RRP) for the lowest-specification 1200 series while the top-of-the-range 1600 series with 16MB memory, 550-sheet input tray and network connectivity sells for $1595.
A new channel Web site will be launched later this month in conjunction with the expanded range and there is an incentive program in place for resellers to push the brand.