Giants Satisfy Urge to Converge
Such a strange industry! Heidelberg and Fujifilm announce a collaboration (www.fujifilm.com/news/n131105.html), and most people I know within the industry did not even know about it.
Well, I was not all that surprised since I had heard from a few EU-based sources that a unique collaboration was under way—simply that a German press manufacturer and a Japanese technologies giant had decided to join forces and “create new markets with (their) cutting-edge technologies.”
Once I realized that the technology giant was not SONY (which seemed strange, though I had heard the SONY was rethinking ancillary, not directly related markets) and the German firm was mentioned as the grey Frau, I checked with my sources to ask if the collaboration was between Heidelberg and Fujifilm. Yes was the answer I heard from all.
Then, like magic, the press release appeared, and the collaboration was announced.
Not much of an announcement, but enough to get me in the investigatory mood and make me start digging up “stuff.” And, as I delved into my sources, I began mixing conjecture with fact, trying to decide what was true and what was not, like playing the game “True or False.”
First, this is a very cool and very powerful alliance. These firms are truly giants and they offer the right combination of history, market share, installed base and technology to make this venture a success. Two giants on the bookends of the print business have decided to develop something (which could be special or new or impressive). That something can be many things. As the press release indicates, it will incorporate the “commercial and packaging markets as well as being global.” The term “inkjet” was also used—so far so good.
It is important to note (true or false) that the something that will come out of this collaboration is being developed based on in-depth interviews with the end users. These end users are not so much printers as they are large corporations, enterprises and firms that will hire printers to get things done.