Oki puts boot into inkjet channel

Printing vendor Oki has warned resellers pushing desktop inkjet printers that they face a gloomy future due to the explosive growth of multifunction printer (MFP) technologies in the Middle East.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  July 26, 2007

Printing vendor Oki has warned resellers pushing desktop inkjet printers that they face a gloomy future due to the explosive growth of multifunction printer (MFP) technologies in the Middle East.

Citing IDC figures that show the value of the inkjet printer market in Saudi Arabia and the UAE dropped 24% year-on-year during the first quarter of 2007, John Ross, general manager of Oki Printing Solutions Middle East (pictured), boldly predicts the technology is on its way out.

"If you're looking at investing in a desktop inkjet printer today, then you have to have concerns about ‘future proofing' your investment," he said. "The technology is showing every sign of entering its last useful phase. Market figures are dropping, the value of the machines on the market is dropping and manufacturers are consolidating their ranges. Even predictions for cartridge sales over the years to come are showing a fast drop-off in sales. This is the end for the inkjet."

Oki claims IDC data reveals users are ‘overwhelmingly' opting for entry-level inkjet machines. More than 80% of inkjets sold in the first quarter were priced below $100, compared to 74% in the corresponding period a year before. The vendor also insists the decline in the inkjet market comes at a time when the total Middle East regional printer market is rapidly growing.

"We urge all businesses to take the smart decision when it comes to their printing communications," said Ross. "Companies that are replacing their twenty-something desktop inkjets with a couple of toner-based network products are drastically cutting their bills while gaining more flexible in-house printing that communicates their messages to their clients and suppliers in a fast efficient way," he added.

As a vendor focused firmly on enhancing its position in the Middle East MFP market, Oki clearly has a vested interest in denouncing inkjets as a spent force. However, Ross is adamant that MFPs offer greater value for money.

"We believe that there is a huge market opportunity being opened by the inability of inkjet technologies to remain competitive," he continued. "Toner based MFP products are now more competitive, a stronger long-term investment and remain a much less expensive technology to operate than inkjet machines. And we'll be delighted to show anyone thinking about an inkjet that Oki's alternative simply makes more sense!"

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