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The Xerox Corporation manufactures, sells and services office equipment and furniture. The company was founded in 1906 in Rochester, New York, as the Haloid Company; it was renamed Xerox Corporation in 1961. Xerox Corporation is a technology and services enterprise that helps businesses deploy smarter document management strategies and find better ways to work. It offers an array of innovative document solutions, services and systems, including color and black-and-white printers, digital presses, multifunction devices and digital copiers, designed for offices and production-printing environments. It also offers associated supplies, software and support. Xerox also has been a primary sponsor of the Olympics for more than 40 years. Its 2004 revenue was $15.7 billion.
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Xerox was Number 132 among the Fortune 500 as of December 2004, with 58,100 employees worldwide, including 32,100 in the United States. The company's operations are guided by such customer-focused and employee-centered core values as social responsibility, diversity, and quality. Xerox’s Global Research Centers are strategically located around the world. Each has a unique focus in support of innovative document creation and management.
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Xerox Corporation is founded on innovation. Chester Carlson's invention of xerography, more than 65 years ago, was a milestone in the development of the modern information age, and Xerox's predecessor, Haloid, took a great gamble by opting to develop xerography and create a xerographic machine. Those who can remember the world before copiers know that the invention of the copier dramatically changed the workplace. Like the invention of the printing press 500 years earlier, the xerographic copier moved people one giant step forward in the democratization of knowledge, something that no competing technology would have enabled. It is no surprise that libraries were among the earliest users of the new technology. Information on paper can now be propagated easily from one person to others.
Chester Carlson created the first xerographic image in his lab in Queens, New York City, on October 22, 1938. Carlson received U.S. patent No. 2,297,691 on October 6, 1942, for electrophotography, later called xerography, the technology that revolutionized the world of imaging. Early copiers were expensive, suitable only for government and large business installations. As the electronics revolution unfolded, machines became smaller and less expensive. Mass production and a rising demand forced prices down over the decades, while quality and reliability improved.
The Haloid Company was founded to manufacture and sell photographic paper. The company's first public offering of Xerox stock was on September 16, 1936. Haloid acquired the license to Chester Carlson's basic xerographic patents from Battelle Development Corporation of Columbus, Ohio, a subsidiary of Battelle Memorial Institute. In 1948, the word "Xerox" was trademarked. That year saw the first of 213 consecutive quarterly dividend announcements. Haloid and Battelle announced development of xerography, and the first xerographic copier, the Model A, was introduced in 1949. Xerox was listed on the New York Stock Exchange on July 11, 1961. Some 7,700 shares were traded, and the stock closed at $104 for the day. In 1969, Xerox moved its corporate headquarters from Rochester, New york, to Stamford, Connecticut. About 150 employees, including most of the company's executive management, relocated there. The year 1969 began a decades-long string of company acquisitions by Xerox.
Innovation "minus-milestones" at Xerox
Xerox is not alone in the minus-milestone category of technological businesses with high potential for success, but failure to succeed in the technological arena. IBM, (International Business Machines), arguably was a dubious winner in that category when it failed to see the potential for its personal computer in the early 1980s.
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), opened in 1970 near Stanford University. Then in 1973, Xerox invented the prototype of the world's first personal computer, the Alto, with innovations including the first what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor, the first commercial use of a mouse, a graphical user interface and bit-mapped display. Its commercial descendent was the 8010 Star computer. The Alto predated the origonal IBM-PC by eight years and it was not until 1983 that Steven Wozniak and Steve Jobs at Apple Computer Company in Palo Alto, California, introduced the Lisa. The Lisa and the later MacIntosh core technologies were co-opted by Wozniak and Jobs directly from Xerox-PARC. Some claim the Apple Lisa was the first personal computer to use a Graphical User Interface, (GUI), but Xerox-PARC is the true inventor of the technology, and a full 10 years ahead of the Apple Lisa.
The highpoint of the "Mini-Computer" age was the decade of the 1960s through the early 1980s. Many companies began to take advantage of the newly miniatureized electronics (microprocessors) that allowed for smaller and less expensive computers. In 1969, Xerox bought Scientific Data Systems (SDS), a nine-year-old computer manufacturing company. Xerox changed the name to Xerox Data Systems (XDS), entering the highly competitive computer field. When Xerox withdrew from the computer industry in 1975, the computing world was dominated by mainframes and mini-computers. In the early 1980s, many thought those large, expensive machines were on the decline. The fact was that the number of manufacturers in the industry were on the decline. Mainframes and mini-computers are more pervasive, more powerful, and less expensive than ever before.
Another example of Xerox's failure to capitalize on its original research is the laser printer. In 1977, the computer industry's first laser printer, the Xerox 9700, was announced. The laser printer has become the most common type of computer printer. Laser printers produce high quality printing, and are able to produce both text and graphics. Laser printers are based upon photocopier processes, also invented at Xerox. The design was not offered commercially until 1977, and the high price of the Xerox Star 8010 computer inhibited sales. The first laser printer success was the Hewlett-Packard (HP) LaserJet, released in 1984. The HP LaserJet bacame the de facto standard for the personal computer industry. By 1987, HP and clone laser printers could be purchased for about $2,500 and 2005 prices were under $1,000.
Another Xerox-PARC minus-milestone was the development of PostScript printer language. In 1982 a former Xerox-PARC employee created Adobe Systems, Inc., in Palo Alto, California, and completed sophisticated software, nurtured at Xerox-PARC, for a dedicated desktop publishing workstation based upon the PostScript printer control language. Apple Computer offered the first low-cost PostScript lasar printer in 1985. That was the Apple Laserwriter printer, and it sold for $7,000. Hewlett-Packard (HP), a hand calculater manufacturer in Palo Alto, offered a competitive model laser printer, containing its own printer control language, at a much lower price. PostScript was and remains superior to Hewlett-Packard's printer control language. HP LaserJets, while cheaper and more numerous, were and are no match for the higher-quality PostScript output. PostScript printers are still the printing industry's mainstay technology.
Yet another Xerox minus-milestone was the technology used to connect nearby computers so they could "talk" among themselves: the "local area network" (LAN). While the concept of a wide-area network had been effectively developed as a part of the ARPAnet project — the Internet — the basis for a LAN is Ethernet. Ethernet is a protocol, or set of rules, that manages a LAN. It is a design that allows computers to talk to each other over cables strung from one computer to another to create a network. Ethernet was created at Xerox-PARC by Robert Metcalfe. In some ways Metcalfe invented Ethernet three times, the first time as part of his dissertation at MIT, then at Xerox-PARC, and then again at 3COM, of Sunnyvale, California, a company he founded to exploit his invention. Ethernet is the office computer network technology that is commonplace in the world today.
The Xerox of today offers new tools for document management and document security in the workplace. Xerox is a company ahead of the pack, continually finding new ways to conceive, use, and manage documents. Five hundred years ago, the Gutenberg press started the European printing revolution*. Xerox is working to take the world to the next level, paperless documents, similar to the one you are reading now.
Xerox consistently builds its inventions into business by embedding them in superior Xerox products and solutions, using them as the foundation for new businesses, or licensing or selling them to other entities. Xerox innovations lie at the heart of modern society and Xerox has won many product and service awards that include document technology for the blind. But technological achievements are not the only innovations at Xerox; the company has received awards for its modern approach to diversified labor and environmental responsibility as well.
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