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New printers galore in tight market

Canon rolls out two new inkjet printers for the home market, Xerox cuts prices on several printers, and HP unveils a new laser printer for small office settings.

Canon today rolled out two new inkjet printers for the home market, Xerox cut prices on several of its printers, and Hewlett-Packard unveiled a new laser printer for small office settings.

Canon introduced a new color printer, called the BJC-1000, that will be priced at $89 with a rebate in an effort to solidify its share of the entry level printer market against a coming incursions from Hewlett-Packard and Lexmark, which pioneered the sub-$100 printer category last year.

Xerox, meanwhile, cut prices on its entry level inkjet printers in an effort to keep apace of Canon, and also reduced prices on other peripherals.

Last month, HP said it was starting a new subsidiary called Apollo which will develop and market peripherals for small office and home users. The company plans to launch its first sub-$100 color inkjet printers this spring in the U.S. and Europe.

Canon isn't standing idly by. The company designed the new printer to be smaller in size and weight than the BJC-250 printer it replaces, and also introduced the faster BJC-2000 for $149 with rebate. Canon also hopes to steal some scanner sales by offering an add-in cartridge that turns the 200 series printers into a scanner for $19 with rebate.

"We have been the market leader in the entry level printer category. Our competitors are trying to emulate our success," said Peter Bergman, vice president of marketing and customer care with Canon Computer Systems. "We have a well known brand name, and we'll leverage it for all its worth."

Entry-level printers are expected to account for 35 percent of the entire market by 2000, according to Lyra Research. The sub-$100 printers could account for about 11 percent of the market by 2000, other research indicates.

Xerox, cognizant of the popularity of low cost printers, today cut prices on its DocuPrint line of color inkjet printers, with the XJ8C (8ppm photo-quality color inkjet) reduced $50 to $199 and the XJ6C reduced $20 to $129. The company also cut prices on the WorkCentre multi-function printer/scanner/copier devices. The XD100 had its price cut by $100 to $599, and the WorkCentre XE80 was reduced by $50 to $549.

In the market for laser printers, HP is touting new printers that have 1200 by 1200 dots-per-inch (dpi) resolution and print at 10 pages-per-minute. The new LaserJet 2100 series printers are aimed for use by individuals and small offices.

One intriguing feature HP added to the new printers is an infrared port. Notebook and handheld devices with infrared ports can now beam information directly to the printer without hooking up to a network connection or cable.

HP's printers have an estimated street price ranging from $699 to $999.