A 20th century power station
Xerox quickly rose to prominence after releasing the first copier in 1959, causing dramatic change in the American workplace. In the early 1970s, Xerox launched its first color copier, and the company subsequently reported record revenues and profits.
At the same time, Xerox began to imagine the “office of the future”. Its famous Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) invented many technologies that workers today take for granted: the first computer mouse; PDF file format; The “graphical user interface”, now used on all personal computers; laser printer; and local Ethernet network.
But Xerox failed to bring these inventions to market. After an antitrust lawsuit with the United States Federal Trade Commission in 1975, Xerox was forced to license its entire patent portfolio to other competitors, reducing the company’s share in the United States market. copiers from nearly 100% to less than 14%.
The development of digital copiers in the 1990s allowed Xerox to regain market share. Xerox shares soared to $ 165 in 1999, from $ 13 at the start of the decade. But when the dot-com crash hit, the stock plummeted, along with the rest of the market. By the end of 2000, Xerox had fallen to $ 10 a share.
Death of the print
Since the dot-com crash, Xerox has struggled to stay relevant as offices increasingly do so digitally. Not only do workers print much less, but stand-alone printers have been replaced with multifunction printers that can print, copy and scan, meaning there are fewer printing devices overall that offices have to buy. .
Xerox’s revenue, which stood at $ 20 billion in 2013, fell to just $ 9.8 billion for 2018. In addition, a proposed merger with Japanese rival Fujifilm was scrapped. last year after two of Xerox’s biggest shareholders, Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, sued to block the deal, claiming it significantly undervalued Xerox and would be the “final death knell” for the iconic American company.
As part of the settlement, chief executive Jeff Jacobson resigned and was replaced by Icahn’s pick, John Visentin. Six other board members, including Chairman Robert Keegan, also left, giving Icahn and Deason more control. (A spokesperson for Xerox said the company is positioning itself “to be a stronger and more innovative Xerox for years to come.”)