Lexmark tones up for printer fight

Lexmark International plans a major product unveiling next week aimed at raising the stakes in the laser printer battle with Hewlett-Packard and taking on copier manufacturers that make office machines that act as a printer, scanner and copier, sources told CNET News.com.

The No.2 printer maker is expected to speed up its laser printers in the sweet spot of the market while introducing so-called multifunction peripherals (MFPs) that offer better integration of scanning, printing and copying functions. The company is not expected to introduce any new inkjet models as part of the announcement, set for Monday.

The multifunction market is a key area for printer makers such as Lexmark and HP, which are looking to capture business as companies replace their analog copiers with digital machines. Companies increasingly are trying to replace copiers and faxes with machines that hook into their corporate computer network and can act as a network printer, as well as a place for workers to walk up and make copies.

"As businesses look around at their output options, they are saying 'Get rid of the old fax and the old copier, and get this device,'" said Gartner Dataquest analyst Peter Grant.

Lexmark also is expected to introduce new products in its mainstay laser printer market. Rival HP introduced two new laser printers on Wednesday and cut prices on several other models in an effort to boost the company's appeal to small and midsize businesses.

A Lexmark representative on Wednesday declined to offer details on the company's forthcoming products.

News source: ZDNet News - Lexmark tones up for printer fight

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