IBM could spark tension between its resellers and those of rival printer vendors by launching a programme to fire it back into the low-end sector.
Big Blue admitted it is an "unknown" printer brand in this market but said it wants to double its revenue this year. The company OEMs printers or printer engines from vendors such as Lexmark, adds technology, rebrands them and ships them through its channel.
IBM sold its printing division to Lexmark in the early 1990s. Vincent Zandvliet, head of the IBM printing division in Europe, said: "Many people did not realise IBM was in this business."
One unhappy Lexmark reseller, who requested anonymity, said IBM is just rebadging Lexmark kit as part of an existing deal. "Our customers that buy other IBM products, such as PCs and servers, will be able to buy the same printers as ours from their IBM reseller," he said.
But Keith Whistle, Lexmark's channel director, said: "We are confident that the promotions, products and services we have will give our resellers a competitive advantage."
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