If you’re interested in Xerox machine history — and how Xerox became as synonymous to copy machines as Kleenex is to facial tissue — keep reading on. Its history is a classic story of a company becoming too confident in its own success.
Xerox machine history dates back to when Xerox became the first company to invent the process of printing with dry powdered toner onto plain paper.
This is an important moment in Xerox machine history because before then, in order to make a copy you would need to have a special kind of paper. Copies couldn’t be made on plain paper until Xerox invented the process.
Thanks to Xerox machine history we have the copying process used around the world today. As a result of having been the first to invent the process, Xerox had a monopoly on the copy machine business because it was the only company who could manufacture machine that print on plain paper.
You could say this was the moment in Xerox machine history when “Xerox” became synonymous with “making a copy” — “could you Xerox this for me?” was a common phrase to hear around the office day in and day out.
Xerox Machine History: The Downfall
Since Xerox held the patent to make copies with dry powdered toner on plain paper, the company grew large and profitable. However, patents eventually run out, and this was the moment in Xerox machine history when competitors started popping up making copy machines using the process that Xerox invented.
At first, competitors were not taken seriously because Xerox didn’t believe other companies would be good at making machines that print on plain paper. To the company’s surprise, its most serious competition ended up coming from somewhere least expected.
I’ve been in this business so long that that I’m old enough to remember when equipment made in Japan used to come with the reputation of being a piece of junk.
When I was a kid in the 60s, when something was junky you just knew it was made in Japan before even looking. You could forget about Taiwan or China, if you were buying equipment made in those countries you were just throwing money away.
That’s how much things have changed over the years — now Japan is a world leader in new technology. The downfall in Xerox machine history is largely a result of the company being over-confident.
At first the competition wasn’t very good, but eventually they got better, started producing better machines at lower costs, and ended up taking away Xerox’s market share. Early on in Xerox machine history the company owned 100% of the copier market, today it owns less than 15%.
In short, the reason why Xerox ended up being to copy machines what Kleenex is to facial tissues, is because for 20 years Xerox was the only company using its patented process. When its patents ran out, that was the beginning of the end of Xerox’s dominance over the copy machine market.
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