Ninestar’s Situation – What Does It Mean for You and the Copier Niche?


The recent news about Ninestar’s import ban has stirred up discussions within the copier industry, leaving many wondering about its implications. In this newsletter entry, we’ll explore the Ninestar situation, offering an opinion on what it means for you as a reader.

The Ninestar Situation – An Opinion:

The silence surrounding the Ninestar ban, domestic toner, and Lexmark is deafening. Official information seems to be limited to generic press releases, leaving us craving more insight. However, let’s consider this: the majority of domestic retailers source their supplies from offshore providers, with a significant portion coming from China. With the current ban, some familiar names might experience an increase in orders—a healthy bump that may go unnoticed. Next time you find yourself in Walmart, take a glance at the toner aisle; you might notice it’s deserted.

In the words of The Princess Bride, we might say that Lexmark has been “mostly dead all day.” Will there be a resurrection and a new dawn, or will we be left with nothing but memories?

But what about Lexmark?

There are contrasting narratives circulating about Lexmark’s relationship with Ninestar. While approximately 60% of Lexmark is supposedly ‘owned’ by Ninestar, Lexmark insists that Ninestar is merely a ‘supplier.’ Plausible or not, Lexmark’s attempt to distance itself, at least in the press, raises questions about its survival strategy.

Here’s some conjecture for you: unverified rumors suggest that only a handful of Lexmark’s SKUs are affected by the ban—perhaps as few as four. This prompts us to ask, can Lexmark withstand a spinoff? At present, the possibility of Lexmark being up for purchase seems unlikely, yet consider the potential synergy that a competing device from Ninestar could cause.

And then there is HP:

Amidst this widely discussed story, the biggest beneficiary appears to be HP. With its immense size, HP is considered “too big to fail,” which has always been its strength. When turbulent times arise, finding shelter on a big ship like HP becomes a wise choice. HP is akin to a Big Blue ship, weathering the storm. Removing a competitor from the battlefield undoubtedly favors HP’s market position.

Here’s an indicator to ponder:

If Lexmark were to wither away, it would symbolize further the decline of office output technology, leaving no room for denial. Perhaps the words of Miracle Max from The Princess Bride describe the current state of Lexmark. But remember, Max brought back Wesley who was ‘mostly dead all day”. Will there be a resurrection and a new dawn, or will we be left with nothing but memories?

In the ever-changing landscape of the copier industry, only time will reveal the answers to these questions. Stay tuned for further updates and analysis.

Press release, here.

– Greg Walters, Head Writer