Xerox is a company that, to paraphrase Abba Eban, never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It owned the
xerox copier market (even the name), and lost it to the Japanese because it was so addicted to leasing instead of sales. It invented the graphical user interface (the Xerox Star) and invited Steve Jobs in to have a look at it. It developed the first multifunction printer/fax/copier (the Hydra) and sold it for ten thousand bucks. Now, faced with following Eastman Kodak into technological irrelevance, it is at last making some smart moves.
Patricia Calkins, Vice President of environment, health and safety at Xerox, seems to get it; she says "What gets measured gets managed." They have just introduced a calculator that tracks the energy usage and environmental impact of printing and copying documents. (::earth2tech)
According to the Wall Street Journal, it is also "marketing "high yield" paper, made using more bits of the tree, which is akin to newsprint. That's one way to cut into office profligacy: Xerox says 45% of printed matter ends up in the trash before a day is out." It is also working on self-erasing paper, which will wipe itself clean just before being fed back into the tray. Oh, there are a lot of people wishing their mortgages were printed on that! ::Wall Street Journal
UPDATE: Kodak points out that while we are no longer snapping our Instamatics with flashcubes, they are still a force to be reckoned with, especially in the PR department. Manager of Communications Christopher Veronda was on our case in minutes, pointing out that "Kodak remains one of the Top 20 companies in patents awarded by the U.S. Patent Office. And that we've successfully transformed to a digitally oriented company, with 70 percent of revenues from digital products, including what has been called by industry analysts a "powerhouse" portfolio in the printing and publishing industry. And we invented the digital camera and jpeg format, so every company in the digital imaging business uses our technology."
Perhaps with both Xerox and Kodak, Rochester has a chance at reinvention and revitalization too.