Xerox started out in 1906 as The Haloid Photographic Company, selling photographic paper and equipment. But they are best known for their photocopier machines and came to worldwide prominence in 1959 with the release of the Xerox 914 – the world’s first plain paper copier. The 914 was an instant hit generating over $60 million in two years.
Xerox looked to diversify and in 1970 opened Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, known as Xerox PARC. Xerox from their facility was to invent computer technology that is still current today such as the mouse and a graphical user interface that was a forerunner to both Windows and the Apple Operating systems. Xerox’s Board failed to see the commercial value of these inventions and instead shared the technology with Apple and a young Bill Gates (later to found Microsoft). Microsoft and Apple commercialised the Xerox inspired GUI, going on to dominate the computer industry worldwide.
Xerox by the 1980’s was in decline with manufacturers such as Canon and Ricoh competing at lower prices for photocopier products and Apple and Microsoft capitalising on Xerox invented computer technology.
In the 2000’s Xerox a loss-making company, began an aggressive plan to turn the situation round. Through the acquisition of Tektronix, Xerox was able to develop solid ink printing offering superior quality to their rivals. They invested in Print Management and Document Management technology and software and returned to profitability.