Iconic American company Xerox synonymous with copy machines is no more. Founded in 1906, the company has now been taken over by Japan’s Fujifilm as a part of a $6.1 billion deal.
Both companies have existed as corporate partners under the moniker ‘Fuji Xerox’. The combined moniker has been retained, and the new company is said to have a revenue of $18 billion. The corporate headquarters at Tokyo and Connecticut will be retained as well.
As a part of the deal, Fujifilm will own just over 50 percent of Xerox. The new company will be led by Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson, while Fujifilm CEO Shigetaka Komori will serve as chairman. Going forward, there are plans to cut nearly $1.7 billion in costs, and this move will also see nearly 10,000 employees let go.
“The proposed combination has compelling industrial logic and will unlock significant growth and productivity opportunities for the combined company, while delivering substantial value to Xerox shareholders,” Jacobson said.
“The new Fuji Xerox will be better positioned to compete in today’s environment with truly global scale, increased presence in fast-growing markets, and innovation capabilities to effectively meet our customers’ rapidly-evolving demands,” he added.
This deal marks the end of a company that plays an important role in technology lore. When the company introduced its copying machines in the late 1950s, no one would have guessed how famous the company would become. It is rare to see a company’s name become a verb.
While known for its copy machines, very few remember that Xerox was also responsible for refining the computer mouse and graphical-user interface that we take for granted these days. The company developed these technologies for its own personal computer, called ‘Alto’. Though Xerox’s PC never did pick up, it plays an important role in the development of another personal computer – Apple Macintosh.
As the story goes, in 1979, Apple’s Steve Jobs toured the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and got the ideas that would find their way into the Macintosh. While Xerox did try again with its ‘Star’ PC, it couldn’t really compete against IBM’s business PCs and Apple’s Macintosh. In the 1980s, Xerox faced stiff competition from Japanese competitors like Canon and Ricoh. Eventually, offices around the globe moved on from sharing paper documents to sharing them electronically.
Xerox has since faced a tough time in innovating with changing times. Not surprisingly, it joins the likes of other iconic brands like Kodak and BlackBerry among others who have found the modern world a cruel place.