Minolta signs reseller pact with BTG

Just months after shipping its first brand-name line of laser printers Minolta Corp. late last month signed BTG Inc. to sell its products on the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Computer Store contract.

Minolta also is in the final stages of adding its printer line to the General Services Administration schedule through BTG and other vendors. The company's product line includes the Color PageWorks printer which is priced at $2 969 on NIH's ECS contract.

For a number of years Minolta has been developing laser printer systems for other vendors under original equipment manufacturing agreements. PageWorks which has a total of five models including both monochrome and color is Minolta's first foray into the market under its own brand name.

But the company is zeroing in on color laser which Minolta executives see as a burgeoning arena particularly in the federal market. "I wouldn't be surprised if the government became the top purchaser of these products " said Robert Rosborough director of sales for Minolta's Peripheral Products Division.

Rosborough noted that the federal government appears to be the top customer for Tektronix Inc. which is among the leading vendors for color laser printers along with Hewlett- Packard Co. and Canon Inc.

However Tektronix focuses more on specialized graphics printing while Minolta like HP is geared more toward a more "corporate" environment the company said.

"Our target primarily has been federal and small- and medium-size businesses " Rosborough said.

With that in mind Minolta developed its products with an emphasis on ease of use. Users should be able to bring the printer up on the network load the printer drivers and be ready to go in a very short time according to Rosborough. Additionally the Color PageWorks printer uses toner cartridges just like black-and-white printers so users do not have to pour toner out of bottles or canisters the company said.

Keith Waryas printer market analyst at International Data Corp. said such features are important for the market Minolta is targeting. "It's much more practical for a business environment where users don't want to worry about a printer they just want it to work " he said.

The Color PageWorks printer delivers 600 dots-per-inch resolution printing out 12 pages per minute in monochrome or 3 ppm in full color. Ideally customers should be able to put the printer on the network and use it for both black-and- white and color when they need it Rosborough said.

"Color is actually up and coming now " said Gayle Trojan BTG's NIH ECS program manager. "People are introducing color into the workplace a lot more now." Key applications for color laser printers in the federal market include presentations and computer-aided design as well as such specialized applications as scientific research mapping and satellite imaging Trojan said.

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