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Brother looks for bigger market share with new products

Brother markets itself as a maker of printing equipment that is "at your side," knowing full well that consumers hate it when the opposite is true having to be at a printer's side working out a jam.

With its latest products, equipped to notify the user, a network administrator and even a service center when something goes wrong, it just may be putting credence to its claim.

In a bid to capitalize on the growing demand for multi-function devices in the Middle East, Brother announced yesterday the launch of its new series of laser flatbed products incorporating laser printing, faxing, copying, color scanning and monochrome PC faxing.

IDG research has forecast 40 per cent growth in multi-function machines in the Middle East between 2004 and 2006, and Brother expects sales to grow at similar levels this year.

Designed for the small office and home office sector, the 8460N and 8860DN are designed to be network capable for between five and 25 users. With both models costing less than $500, the printers are priced lower than HP products of the same category, said Toyomi Ido, president of Brother International Corp.

He said the cost savings stem from the fact that Brother products are manufactured in China as well as because it is specialized in this sector, while HP and others have more diversified product line-ups.

Brother also seeks a pricing edge in per-page printing costs, saying that its separated drum and toner units lower per-page costs by 20 per cent. It offers several niche features: Printouts detail how many copies have been made as well as how much toner is left, and a security lock allows users the freedom to print sensitive information only when they are at the printer's side.

Yoshihisa Tsuji, managing director, Brother Gulf, a subsidiary of Japanese parent company Brother, said the success of the printers would hinge on providing customers with cost effectiveness, optimized utilization of space and greater practicality.

While Brother previously marketed itself in industry publications, Tsuji said the company would begin targeting this home and small office-oriented product to consumer audiences in its advertising campaigns.

Source: gulfnews.com

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