Minolta proves the fax is not dead

JOHANNESBURG (03/22/2004) - Sales of Minolta Co. Ltd. fax machines have climbed by 8 percent in the last eight months, fueling debate that a fax product market was still sustainable within the small and medium-sized business sectors, Minolta said this week.

Fax division product manager, Charl Vogel, says the major buyers of stand-alone fax machines are small and micro enterprises, which cannot justify the larger costs associated with installing e-document delivery solutions. "Minolta's recent announcement of a reduction in fax prices - a 20 percent decrease for laser fax machines and 26 percent decrease for inkjet fax machines - has also played a role in boosting fax sales," he says.

Added to this, Vogel believes that the improved standard features of entry-level fax machines have also contributed to the increase. These "feature-rich" machines are faster, and have more functionality, than the equivalent models five years ago.

Vogel says the advent of e-mail and the Internet has not resulted in the demise of the fax machine and fax technology. "Fax capabilities have become increasingly more sophisticated over the years, offering higher levels of functionality. Today fax solutions range from entry level inkjet fax machines to sophisticated dual line plain paper laser fax machines and fax servers for e-document delivery," he says.

Vogel says faxing is still one of the most adaptable and reliable methods of communicating, and, unlike e-mail, fax is not limited by the size or type of file being faxed. "Companies often limit the size of files that can be sent via e-mail and large e-mail messages may not be allowed access to the recipient's inbox.

"While e-mail is certainly fast, faxing is often more reliable when faced with problems such as servers going down, or quarantined messages with e-mail viruses," says Vogel.

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