Brand karma: The Rise and Fall of a Cult Brand Xerox Corporation (Reason why they failed, facts & stats) (Part-2)


Click here! to read the first part of the article about the rise of Xerox Corporation. Here is a small brief about steve jobs saying Xerox had potential to change the world and they failed. Here is the reason why!

Xerox, a printer company and one of the greatest company for their inventions. Imagine anyone with the greatest invention of the 20th century in your hands and giving it away because you don’t know what to do with it. Xerox just did that with Xerox Alto. Their idea was to mimic an office desk and create a personalized computer. A paperless office of the future and it was a completely revolutionary concept in 1973. The Xerox management did not understand what they had & just couldn’t see what the future of computer technology possible could be. They invited Steve jobs to Xerox PARC and then apple diverted xerox resources into Apple Lisa then to Macintosh & Microsoft made a similar software and now which is used in our mobile phone today Sadly Xerox never get mentioned for any of this.

The downfall of Xerox Corporation:

Xerox was a successful company till 1970’s with many sensational products and a lot of revenue but, because of some misleading decisions, wrong assumption & ineffective ideologies there were many mistakes done by Xerox board members which slowly let to their companies downfall and lose the market share and there are major reasons.

1. The company’s xerography patents began expiring in the early 1970s, and its 95% share of the market diminished. By 1982, its portion of the U.S. copier business had declined to 13% under an onslaught of cut-price copiers imported from Japan.

2. In 1979, Xerox purchased Western Union International (WUI) as the basis for its proposed Xerox Telecommunications Network (XTEN) and soon realized that it was a mistake and sold that assets to MCI [Tele-Communication Company and competitor of AT&T based in the USA] at loss.

3. Xerox basically invented digital communication (the pc, mouse, graphical user interface, Ethernet), yet it was not able to see how any of these innovations could replace black marks on white paper. The cost of developing digital technology would have been very expensive, it was easier to just keep making copiers. After all, Xerox was making tons of money, copy machine volumes just kept climbing, and it controlled the high end of its market. Instead, Xerox just managed the cash cow.

4. Allaire, now 79, and Thoman, 73, both who worked as CEO’s of Xerox during 80’s & 90’s period shared a basic belief that Xerox needed to reinvent itself to succeed in the Digital Age. In the end, though, each would blame the other for screwing up the implementation of the strategic plan they developed together.

5. Xerox was the inability of senior management to recognize new technologies that would supplant Xerox’s copier technology. The sad thing is that Xerox invented most of the world changing technology and as they failed to use it.

Here is what Steve jobs words on why Xerox failed.

How big is XEXOX:

  • Xerox’s ranks 48th among the largest US employer
  • There approximately 35,000 employers are working for Xerox.
  • There are nearly 11,000 patents which are in the name of Xerox Corporation
  • Xerox Corporation has offices in 160 countries
  • Xerox manages 1.5 million devices produced by their company

Facts about xerox you might not come across:

  • In a small lab, a team was working on a new concept of connecting two Xerox machines using a telephone line so that a document scanned on one machine would print out on the other and they named it as Long distance xerography[LDX], the first and only long distance relationship that worked. Soon this concept became as what we now use a fax machine.

  •  Xerox runs a successful team as a title sponsor of the Ducati Xerox Team, a journey that has seen 7 different riders, 109 podiums, 45 race wins and 22 pole positions in bike races.

  • Xerox 914 was stated as important American history as an artifact in the Smithsonian Institution.

  • Xerox also used to own a financial company called VanKampen Merritt, a Wall Street fund manager. Now it’s a part of Morgan Stanley.
  • Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd. is a joint venture partnership between the Japanese photographic firm Fujifilm Holdings (75%) and the American document management company Xerox (25%) to develop, produce and sell xerographic and document-related products and services in the Asia-Pacific region. And also, Fuji Xerox is the world’s longest-running joint venture between a Japanese and an American company.

Bonus: The mouse, and therefore the mouse cursor, was invented by Douglas Englebart and was initially an arrow pointing up. When the XEROX PARC machine was built, the cursor changed into a tilted arrow.


Xerox, with its legendary R&D, didn’t sense the opportunities they are creating, simply because Xerox environment was an environment of employee, not entrepreneur. “The lesson of Xerox is that halfway measures don’t work,” says a former executive. Xerox probably will survive. It might even return to solid profitability. But its hopes of becoming an important player in the “office of the future” probably have been dashed for good.



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