Xerox – company overview

Most people might not recognize Xerox immediately but let me tell you; if you’ve worked with digital imaging and printing, then you have probably seen products from this company. Xerox Holdings Corporation is an American global corporation. They sell products related to printing and digital documents. Their services span out across more than 160 countries. As a large and widely accomplished company that could stand side by die with the likes of apple and Microsoft, Xerox is constantly found in the list of Fortune 500 companies.

Xerox is one of the founders of modern computing, having introduced the concepts of personal computing, such as the desktop metaphor GUI, the computer mouse and desktop computing. These concepts have been adopted by both apple and Microsoft and are now part of modern computing.


Xerox, the multi-billion dollar company was founded all the way back in in 1906 in Rochester, New York. At the time, it was known as The Haloid Photographic Company. In the early days of mass printing, it Haloid manufactured photographic paper and equipment. Then in 1938 Chester Carlson, a physicist working independently invented a process for printing images using an electrically charged photoconductor-coated metal plate and dry powder “toner”. The “founder of Xerox”, Joseph C. Wilson, who succeed Haloid from his father took an interest in Carlson’s invention and, in 1946, signed an agreement to develop it as a commercial product.

The company came to prominence in 1959 with the introduction of Carlson’s finished invention, sold as the Xerox 914 “the most successful single product of all time.” The 914 was the first plain paper photocopier. Carlson worked with John H. Dessauer to finish the design. The most successful product of all time was not just a title because the 914 was so popular that by the end of 1961 Xerox had almost $60 million in revenue (that was a lot at that time). The product was sold by a new and innovative ad campaign. The ad showed that with the 914, even monkeys could make copies at the touch of a button. This campaign of simplicity would become the foundation of Xerox products and user interfaces. Revenues received from the 914 leaped to over $500 million by 1965.

In 1956 Haloid formed a joint venture in the UK with Rank Organisation. A subsidiary of Rank; Rank Precision Industries developed the Xeronic computer printer and Rank Data Systems Ltd was charged with the task of  bringing the product to market. The Xeronic printer was the first to use cathode ray tubes to generate the characters and forms could be overlaid from microfilm images.

Looking for a term to differentiate its new system, Haloid coined the term xerography from two Greek roots meaning “dry writing”. Haloid changed its name to Haloid Xerox in 1958 and then Xerox Corporation in 1961.

In the 1960s, due to the success of the 914, Xerox made of some long-suffering investors (who nursed the product till its release) into millionaires. The first desktop plain-paper copier; the Xerox 813, was released in 1963. The 813 was the first printer realise Carlson’s dream of having copiers that could fit on an office desk. Ten years later in 1973, a copier based on the 914 was released. It performed the same functions, only that the new printer was a basic, analogue, colour copier. They were dubbed the 420 and the 720. A coloured version of the 813 was released as well called the 330 and the 660.

In 1979, Xerox purchased Western Union International (WUI) as the basis for its proposed Xerox Telecommunications Network (XTEN) for local-loop communications. However, after three years, in 1982, the company decided the idea was a mistake and sold its assets to MCI at a loss.

During the late 70s and the 80s, Xerox experienced some of its lowest sales returns. During this period, David T. Kearns, a Xerox executive since 1971, took over as CEO in 1982.

The development of digital photocopiers(and the revamp of their entire product range) in the 1990s was just the boost that Xerox needed to get ahead of its competitors again. In 1990, Xerox released the DocuTech Production Publisher Model 135, ushering in print-on-demand. The copiers of that age were essentially laser printers with integrated scanners.  Soon, additional features such as network printing and faxing were added to many models, known as Multi-Function Machines, or just MFMs, which were able to be attached to computer networks. Xerox worked to turn its product into a service, providing a complete document service to companies including supply, maintenance, configuration, and user support.

To reinforce this image, in 1994 the company introduced a corporate signature, “The Document Company”, above its main logo and introduced a red digital X. The digital X symbolized the transition of documents between the paper and digital worlds.

In 2000, Xerox acquired Tektronix color printing and imaging division in Wilsonville, Oregon, for US$925 million. This led to the current Xerox Phaser line of products as well as Xerox solid ink printing technology. In September 2004, Xerox celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Xerox 914. More than 200,000 units were made around the world between 1959 and 1976, the year production of the 914 was stopped. Today, the 914 is part of American history as an artifact in the Smithsonian Institution. In December 31, 2016, Xerox separated its business process service operations, essentially those operations acquired with the purchase of Affiliated Computer Services, into a new publicly traded company, Conduent. Xerox focuses on its document technology and document outsourcing business, and continues to trade on the NYSE.

Product line

Xerox manufactures and sells a wide variety of office equipment including scanners, printers, and multifunction systems that scan, print, copy, email and fax. These model families include WorkCentre, Phaser, and ColorQube. For the graphic communications and commercial print industries, the Xerox product portfolio includes high-volume, digital printing presses, production printers, and wide format printers that use xerographic and inkjet printing technologies. Products include the iGen, Nuvera, DocuPrint, and Impika series, as well as the Trivor, iPrint, and Rialto (inkjet) machines


Xerox is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut (having moved from Stamford, Connecticut, in October 2007) though its largest population of employees is based around Rochester, New York, the area in which the company was founded


Revenue US$10.265 billion 

Operating income US$570 million 

Net income US$195 million 

Total assets US$15.946 billion 

Total equity US$5.256 billion