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Thursday, 11 December 2008

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terrible news... never hearing the bad news in here.

Micortek's stock is only NTD2 now.

http://tw.stock.yahoo.com/d/s/company_2305.html

Wonder what explore "vertical market opportunities" means? Something like the CEO and CFO loot all the assets (vertical flow, no doubt) and flee to the Cayman's in their Gulfie), leaving another couple hundred Americans out of work and thousands of scanners unsupported. Quick, somebody go take a picture...

Glad I don't own a Microtek scanner, I guess. But don't you just hate that dishonest corporate-speak in their press release and website? For once I wish a photography/imaging company could be honest with us in its official communications. As in, "sorry we have to abandon this line of business and orphan your scanner, but with the current cratering economy and the collapse of the film/scanning market, we just couldn't make it work. Best wishes". Somehow the corporate weasel-speak makes it hurt that much more.

Tis truly a sad day.

Dozens of future generations will no longer be able to scan the Polaroids on their Microteks.

But seriously, I wouildn't have owned anything else.

I was thinking about whether I should pick up an M1 before they disappear (I own lots of orphaned products--no big deal in my book). In stock yesterday at B out of stock today.

First scanner I bought new that had to be returned twice for being defective out of the box.

@cw: if you'd read the press release you'd have seen:

"Service and Support for Microtek Customers in North America

Microtek will continue to provide support to customers in North America and will honor warranties on all in-warranty Microtek products. The Microtek support Web site for North American customers will stay online."

@cw, @geoff wittig: 'Vertical market opportunities' and 'OEM relationships' are not meaningless or dishonest. All it means is that Microtek aren't going to sell scanners directly to you guys in North America. It means they will be selling to firms making integrated end-to-end solutions or products including embedded scanners, from my understanding of those terms.

There's nothing in that press release that speaks of asset-stripping, greed or mismanagement. It's pretty obvious that Microtek haven't been making the best/most cost-effective products in a shrinking market with three strong competitors (Epson, Canon, HP).

I am surprised by this announcement, at least to the extent that an Illinois citizen can be surprised by anything these days. I've never owned a Microtek product but had the impression that they were a dominant brand in the economy segment of the scanner market.

Separately, however, I am also rather surprised by the sharp cynicism and negativity expressed earlier to this announcement. Perhaps it's coming from disappointed customers? But I found nothing whatsoever evasive or sinister in Microtek's announcement. No, "pursue vertical markets" is not code language for criminal intent. It's well-worn busyness-speak for trying to sell products to discrete application market segments rather than across broad spectrums of customers. I suspect that Microtek has some significant patents and other intellectual property assets that can have true value if packaged and presented to the right customers.

So the meaning that I read in their announcement is that they're withdrawing from costly retail marketing and productization in favor of development and sales for OEM opportunities.

Ahhh, Microtek - I have fond memories of that brand. I've been buying PS at upgrade pricing thanks to the first version I bought, bundled with a Microtek flatbed scanner at a bargain price ($350 for a $100 scanner plus full PS at the time). It was shortly after that that Adobe intro'd "LE" and stopped bundling the full version.

"Wonder what explore "vertical market opportunities" means?"

I used to wonder what "giclee" and "bokeh" meant, but I went and educated myself. I still wonder what "painterly" means, but I can find the generosity of spirit to imagine that it's a complimentary technical term in a subject that I'm an enthusiast for rather than an expert in.

Y

Mr. Houghton-
I appreciate the correction. But I don't perceive such a happy spin on this. Microtek sold some scanners through Polaroid. I was quite happy with my Polaroid Sprintscan 4000 slide scanner, which was a rebadged Microtek product; unfortunately it was orphaned when Polaroid folded, and its SCSI interface was left behind by Windows XP, rendering it unusable with contemporary computers. Now all of Microtek's products will face the same fate.
Realistically the entire consumer scanner market is imploding, as most folks are perfectly happy with cheap multifunction inkjet scanner/copier/printers, leaving nothing between $80 el-cheapo scanners and $2,000 + higher end machines.
I may be taking this a bit too personally. I'm trying to find a decent desktop flatbed scanner to input prints and images from books; my current (4 year old) scanner won't play with Vista, and the manufacturer (cough-Epson-cough) refuses to write an updated driver, so it's now about as useful as a buggy whip. And I'm really discouraged by how few choices there are, far fewer than just a year or two ago. Microtek's departure leaves the field that much emptier.

In reply to Geoff Wittig, maybe his scanner is supported by Vuescan? I've used it on my old minolta scanner, and got it working with Vista...

Robert: Funny you should mention VueScan; I just finished downloading the latest version a few minutes ago. Yes, indeed, VueScan will run on Vista, and it supports just about every scanner there is. Also, though my Epson Perfection 1200U is not on Epson's list of Vista-supported scanners, the supplied driver seems to work normally when installed in Windows XP compatibility mode. Haven't done much scanning since I installed Vista, however, so I can't verify that it works in all respects.

Lots of firsts there certainly, but they always seemed to be surpassed fairly quickly by other people.

Then again I'm still using an old Scanmaker 4 (a hand-me-down from a friend) and it continues to do good work.

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