Oct (10-04) - IBM and CompuPrint

October 25, 2004 Editorial

No sooner had IBM discontinued the venerable 4230 coax family, when CompuPrint, IBM's OEM for the 4247 family, went bankrupt. Rumor has it that IBM hightailed it over to Italy to do damage control. Due to its 600+ piece backlog, IBM was incented to pay vendors directly in order to get production going again. It may be January or later before they are caught up. What happens next is anyone's guess, but unless IBM buys the assets from CompuPrint, I am fairly certain that there will be a different manufacturer in IBM's pocket. Typically IBM likes to own the plans and the machinery, but in this case, they didn't and it has cost them dearly. Last month IBM had announced that they were discontinuing the 4247 family, but now this may be reconsidered. Without a desktop printer in their lineup, IBM is caught with few choices. I don't know if IBM will attempt to resurrect CompuPrint or perhaps OEM through TallyGenicom, or other supplier. I had even heard that IBM may begin development of an internal ethernet option for the 423x family. I don't expect they will. Current inventories of most 4230 and 4247 models are very low, and I have seen prices rise. (Don't blame me, I saw it coming and warned the market of shortages months ago).

What are the alternatives? I preferred the older Genicom 3480 family, bceause they were built like tanks. But even Genicom has been using CompuPrint for their engines. So, that may leave Tally as a viable option. Printek has nice printers, but they don't have the production capacity or the variety of engines that IBM would probably need/want. Printronix doesn't make anything for the desktop. Epson? Okdiata? Lexmark? I hope we don't scrape bottom with plastic printers....

I still find myself spending a lot of time educating buyers on the pitfalls of host printing on impact printers via TCP/IP without IPDS support. Having to go to managment to explain why the costs for conversion aren't as simple and cheap as they had thought.

The economy as a whole may be still growing, but the sector which we occupy has defineitely turned south. Average visits to our web site over the past 12 months show a marked decline. Perhaps in anticipation of the election next week, or perhaps because of the price of oil. The stock market has reached new yearly lows, so I sense that there are larger issues than specifically the technology business.

We finally sold the last of the Tally T6050's from the Kmart bankruptcy. It took about 1.5 years to run through almost 200 pieces. We have a few T6045, T6140, and T6180's, but nothing major on the horizon.... The spate of multifunction printers that hit the starting about a year ago have been mostly re-deployed. We have a few scanners and attachment cards, but supplies are tight, so get 'em while you can.

There have been tightenings on various fronts. Most IBM InfoPrints are tight, and their Lexmark cousins aren't too liquid either. Plenty of older Optra S family members for now, and the IBM 4317, 4320, and 4332 families are looser. These are good machines, and you may want to consider staying put with them. Features are cheap, and the toner is abundant, so they are a worthy move.

Looking for an alternative to IBM's InfoPrint 62 (4370)? Try PSi 4060 - Maintained by IBM and NO CLICK CHARGES

Ok, so that having been said, here are the hots and the nots:
Sweet spots:
IBM 4000-id3/id4 Venerable printer with excellent Roll Systems attachment options
IBM 4332-001, -004 32ppm and 40ppm workhorse beats all comers for least cost per page. NEW IN BOX and refurbished units available
Also have some MICR 4332-004's.
IBM 6400--005, 009, -010, -012, -015, -020 Units sitting with most features.
IBM 1352n and 1352 (4528-n01, 4528-001) over 250 pieces sitting NEW IN BOX below dealer cost.
IBM 4530 (1130) -- less than 15 left
IBM 4322-001 These were a very hot commodity, but we have several and are dealing.
IBM 1354 (4921-001) - Color laser NEW in sealed box
Lexmark 2480 - fast and durable desktop narrow carriage impact printer
Lexmark Optra S1625 16ppm laser at a great value.
Lexmark Optra S2450 -- 24ppm laser, over 90 pieces sitting
Lexmark Optra Se3455 34 pages per minute and cheap-to-keep
Lexmark Optra T614, T616n, T520n, T620n,T632, T634 - We have some GREAT machines

Lexmark T612's -- large quantity in now. Ask about ethernet upgrades
Lexmark Optra W810 35ppm and 11x17 in one solid printer.
Printek 4503 Great metal printer with multi-tractors for multiple forms Also have the cutters)
MarkNet N2000 Internal 10/100 Ethernet Fits: Optra T520, T522, T610, T612, T614, T616, T620, T622, M410, M412
MarkNet S Internal 10/100 Ethernet Fits: Optra S1250, S1255, S1620, S1625, S1650, S1855, S2450, S2455, Se3455, SC1275
HP C4224A HP 1100 Laser Printer -- Little desktop 8ppm laser

Lexmark Optra T522, T622
Lexmark Optra S1855�s � sitting (most with ethernet). These seem to be tightening. Careful.
IBM 1145 (45xx series)
IBM 1312
IBM 4247-003
IBM 4247-V03
IBM 4230 twinax and coax
IBM 4232-302
IBM 4224-1e3 twinax

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