Tektronix has followed in the footsteps of vendors carrying free PC deals by offering free colour printers to businesses in the US.
The vendor, which plans to make money because customers sign to buy its consumables, may extend the trial to Europe and will also offer resellers a cut for any customers using the scheme.
Tektronix claimed the move is intended to expand the use of colour laser printing in business, which is still largely dominated by the black-and-white market.
The limited offer includes: the Phaser 840, which is valued at $2,499; free shipping; unlimited black ink; and three years onsite service and support. Those selected to receive the printer will have to maintain a certain monthly printing volume and buy the colour inks direct from Tektronix.
Tektronix hopes the promotion will help reduce the gap between itself and Hewlett Packard, while raising awareness of the value of business colour printers.
Jean Nassar, vice president of worldwide marketing at Tektronix, said: "This is the latest step in our 15-year drive to remove all barriers that prevent businesses from experiencing the benefits of colour."
Resellers have been asked to nominate customers for selection. In return, the reseller will receive a five per cent quarterly rebate on ink purchased by the customer. This may help to allay concerns over the vendor giving away hardware and selling the colour ink direct to the customer.
Stephen Burt, UK marketing manager of Tektronix, said: "In the past, putting free products through the channel has caused resistance due to the administration costs involved, so we thought it best to take the trial direct. The reseller will receive a rebate for nominating a customer."
The trial runs for an initial 30 days and after a period of monitoring via online polling, a decision on whether to extend the trial to the UK and Europe will be made.
Burt added: "We are always looking for different ways to market our products.
Although there are no immediate plans, if this proves to be a success then it could be extended to Europe."
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