There’s a deal on the table for a once great company, Xerox, to merge with its joint venture with Fujifilm, Fuji Xerox, with Fujifilm taking a 50.1% stake. An iconic brand, once synonymous with high tech, is to be independent no more.
This is somewhat of personal story as I began my IT career at Xerox’s Wilson Center for Research and Technology, then a sister organization to the Palo Alto Research Center. The researchers at the Wilson Center were focused mostly on xerography, developing various types of ink and technologies involved with getting it to stick to paper, and on software development, while Palo Alto was focused on visionary technology research. I spent 6 years at the research center before transferring to the strategy and standards organization in corporate IM where I spent another 7 years before going on involuntary sabbatical. When I returned to work, I joined the IT outsourcing organization (ITO) in Xerox Services supporting the Xerox IT infrastructure. ITO was later broken off and sold to a company that does IT outsourcing as its core business and I continued supporting the Xerox infrastructure until Xerox Services was spun off last year and I was assigned to support the new company.
The building where I currently work is located on the same campus as the former Wilson Center. And it isn’t without notice how far Xerox has fallen in the last decade. The Wilson Center organization was sold years ago to a corporation in India, the majority of the scientists were let go and the equipment was loaded on ships bound for India. Many of the buildings on the campus now stand empty, and the main cafeteria that used to be teaming with some of the most brilliant people in the country is now a like a ghost town. The streets on the formerly well-kept grounds are buckled, cracked and full of potholes. The employee gym where I used to go for yoga classes at lunchtime was sold and is now operated by the municipal authority and is open to city residents only which excludes me.
Over the years, no matter how many people were let go, upper management salaries didn’t seem to budge. Late last year, Xerox made a billion-dollar bond offering. Half was for the pension fund and the other half went to pay off old debt. No new businesses or new investments even though not many people print things anymore. It is sad when the highly paid old dogs can’t learn new tricks while looting the print dinosaur all the way down to extinction then picking over the carcass.
As I’ve heard before, it’s nothing personal. It’s just