Exclusive: Epson Aims To Become Inkjet-Only Outfit

Epson's long term strategy in the printing market is to provide a complete range of inkjet solutions to cover all the five major segments, potentially replacing lasers in the process, ITProPortal can exclusively reveal.

Rob Clark, Executive Director of Marketing at Epson Europe, told ITProPortal.com that Epson is pushing for inkjets to gradually move up the market towards the small & medium enterprise segments and ultimately invading the corporate sector.

This however, he conceded, is going to be a very long term endeavour and partly explains why Epson is ploughing seven per cent of its annual revenue into research and development.

Clark said that Epson will capitalise on its proprietary piezoelectric inkjet technology which is radically different from other inkjet printing technologies and which the company believes can help it deliver a complete portfolio of products to match market demands.

A little known fact is that Epson, like some of its competitors, doesn't own the IP to the fundamental parts of a laser printer. Instead it uses third party technology for its laser printers which prevents it from differentiating itself fully from the rest of the market. Becoming an inkjet-only manufacturer would provide the printing industry with a compelling alternative to laser at the upper end of the spectrum.

Owning the technology is critical for Epson which is why Clark confirmed that Epson UK will stick to its current range of products - projectors, printers and scanners. No cameras, tablets, netbooks, computers and smartphones coming our way.

Epson introduced its first piezoelectric printer back in 1993 with the Epson MJ500 followed by the Stylus Color and with the latest range of Epson printers - the Workforce Pro - being launched in September 2011, Epson will hope that it helps push its printer range to the next level.

Targeting both micro and small businesses, the Workforce Pro uses the same base unit and printer engine and adds different functionalities (scanning, Wi-Fi, a touchscreen display, duplex printing, faxing & copying) to suit the diverse demands of the market.

In addition, Epson's printer designers have been very attentive to details. Workforce Pro printers for the small businesses will be white which, we were told, reduces lighting requirements (and associated costs) in an office environment. The Workforce Pro products are built to look like laser printers; big, solid, sturdy and reassuringly heavy with massive cartridges that, Epson says, will help halve the cost of printing per page.