InfoPrint Goes Solo, Drops IBM Affiliation
July 13, 2010 Alex Woodie
InfoPrint Solutions Company–the former IBM‘s Printing Systems Division–is going it alone as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ricoh. The planned switch took place on June 30, three years and 30 days from when Ricoh took 51 percent ownership of IBM’s printing division.
IBM has been selling off non-strategic aspects of its business for many years. The discarded divisions include the desktop PC business (now Lenovo), the hard disk business (now part of Hitachi), the S/38-based MAPICS MRP software product (now part of Infor), and a desktop printer manufacturing business, which went on to succeed as Lexmark. Now, you can include the Boulder, Colorado, enterprise printing division in that same category.
The transition to 100 percent Ricoh ownership is no surprise. Since IBM initially sold the printing division to Ricoh for $725 million in January 2007, the participants have been gradually moving ownership and control of the business to Ricoh. The Japanese corporation now has full control of the InfoPrint entity.
IBM is happy to get rid of the expense and overhead of running an enterprise printing solutions business so it can focus on more profitable offerings, such as IT consulting, software, and enterprise servers. (And financing. It’s worth remembering that in fiscal 2009, IBM’s financing arm made bigger profits by lending money than its enterprise systems division did selling servers. Perhaps IBM one day will spin off a Big Blue Bank.)
Ricoh, which until the InfoPrint partnership had focused on office machines, was happy to take IBM’s seconds. After all, the printing division has 50 years of experience and a solid reputation as a maker of printing gear, from midrange multifunction printers (MFPs) to heavy duty production printing equipment, such as the InfoPrint 5000, which was introduced a year and a half ago.
“We are extremely excited for InfoPrint Solutions to fully join Ricoh as we continue to expand our ability to fulfill requirements for customers who manage mid-to-high volume output,” says Shiro Kondo, president and CEO of Ricoh. “…InfoPrint Solutions fits perfectly into our family . . . . [and] will enable the Ricoh family to offer even more broad-reaching service, support, and technically superior solutions for our customers.”
Heading up InfoPrint (its formal name will remain InfoPrint Solutions Company) as president and CEO is Daisuke Segawa. In a note on the InfoPrint website, Segawa tells customer that it will be “business as usual.”