Unit sales of inkjet printers may have slumped, but Lexmark believes the decline is a blip that will be negated by upcoming wireless technologies.
Since the company was spun off from IBM's printing business in 1991, it has quadrupled its inkjet share, with overall units growing 159 per cent. The vendor has also entered into an exclusive agreement with buying group Cyberlinx and launched two new colour printers.
"We saw a decline in the Australian market last quarter and the prediction for 2001 is that there will be some negativity. We don't believe that," said Martin Ryan, Lexmark's business printer division general manager.
Ryan believes the advent of wireless will actually drive the future of the printing market. Lexmark is positioning itself for the distributed printing revolution, although at the same time the vendor admits it will be at least another 12 months before the technology becomes prevalent.
"Printers don't need to be connected to PCs - certainly ours don't - and that changes the way we look at the product," he said.
Lexmark has launched the J110, an inkjet featuring a new LiquidLaser technology which the vendor claims provides speed and resolution comparable to laser printers for almost half the cost. The C720 is a new laser offering for business workgroups aimed at affordability and speed.
"Printing and document management constitutes upwards of 3 per cent of a company's total turnover. More amazing is that this equals or exceeds its entire IT expenditure," Ryan said. "Often 95 per cent of a printer's operating costs are not being recognised. Now productivity is much more important and we are working with our partners to show innovations and to show that there is a market they are not participating in that can provide them with annualised revenue streams."