Seiko EpsonSeiko Epson Corporation TypePublicTYO: 6724Founded Suwa, Nagano, Japan(1942) Headquarters Suwa, Nagano, Japan Key people Saburo Kusama, Chairman & CEO; Seiji Hanaoka, President & COO IndustryElectronics ProductsInformation-related equipments, Electronic devices, Precision products Revenue¥1.416 trillion (Fiscal year ended March 31, 2007) Employees87,626 (Consolidated, as of March 31, 2007) WebsiteEpson Global
Seiko Epson Corporation (セイコーエプソン株式会社, Seikō Epuson Kabushiki-gaisha?), or Epson, is a Japanese company and one of the world's largest manufacturers of inkjet, dot matrix and laser printers, scanners, desktop computers, business, multimedia and home theatre projectors, large home theatre televisions, robots and industrial automation equipment, point of sale docket printers and cash registers, laptops, integrated circuits, LCD components and other associated electronic components. Traditionally, the company has been manufacturing Seiko timepieces since its foundation and is one of three core companies of the Seiko Group. Based in Nagano prefecture, Japan, they have numerous subsidiaries worldwide. The current CEO is Saburo Kusama. Net sales over 2006/2007 amounted to ¥1.416 trillion.
Daiwa Kogyo, Ltd. was founded in 1942 by Hisao Yamazaki in Suwa, Nagano. The company was backed by an investment from the Hattori family (founder of the Seiko Group) and began as a manufacturer of watch parts. It started operation in a 2,500 square-foot renovated miso storehouse with 22 employees. In 1943 Daini Seikosha (currently Seiko Instruments) established a factory in Suwa for manufacturing Seiko watches with Daiwa Kogyo. In 1959 the Suwa Factory of Daini Seikosha was split off and merged with Daiwa Kogyo to form Suwa Seikosha Co., Ltd. The company has developed and commercialized many timepiece technologies. In particular, it developed the world's first portable quartz timer (Seiko QC-951) in 1963, the world's first quartz watch (Seiko Quartz Astron 35SQ) in 1969, the world's first automatic power generating quartz watch (Seiko Auto-Quartz) in 1988 and the Spring Drive watch movement in 1999. Manufacturing watches still constitutes one of the major businesses of Seiko Epson. The watches made by the company are sold through the Seiko Watch Corporation, a subsidiary of Seiko Holdings Corporation.
In 1961 Shinshu Seiki Co., Ltd. was established as a subsidiary of Suwa Seikosha to supply precision parts for Seiko watches. When the Seiko Group was selected to be the official time keeper for the Tokyo Olympic games in 1964 a printing timer was required to time events, and Shinshu Seiki started development of an electronic printer. In September 1968, Shinshu Seiki launched the world's first miniprinter, the EP-101, which was soon incorporated into many calculators. In June 1975, the name Epson was coined after the next generation of the EP-101 was released to the public ("Son of EP-101" became "Son of EP" which in turn became "Epson"). In April of the same year Epson America Inc. was established to sell printers for Shinshu Seiki Co.Epson MX-80 dot matrix printer
In June 1978, the TX-80 eighty-column dot-matrix printer was released to the market, and was mainly used as a system printer for the Commodore PET Computer. After two years of further development, an improved model, the MX-80, was launched in October 1980. This was soon the best selling printer in the United States.
In November 1981 Epson introduced the worlds first true laptop that was ultimately portable at 3.5 lbs, the Epson_HX-20 which featured a full-size keyboard, Two Hitachi 6301 CPU's running @ 0.614MHz, an LCD screen (20 X 4 text), dot-matrix printer, storage device, RS232/Serial Port, 16k ram (32k max), built-in rechargeable batteries. Microsoft BASIC was pre-loaded in the ROM, unit was carried with its own carrying case.
In July 1982, Shinshu Seiki officially named itself the Epson Corporation and launched the world's first handheld computer, the HX-20 (HC-20), and in May 1983 the world's first portable color LCD TV was developed and launched by the company.
In November 1985, the Suwa Seikosha Co., Ltd. and the Epson Corporation merged to form the Seiko Epson Corporation.
The company developed the Micro Piezo inkjet technology, which uses a piezoelectric crystal in each nozzle and does not heat the ink at the print head to project the ink onto the page, and released Epson MJ-500 inkjet printer (Epson Stylus 800) in March 1993. Shortly after, in 1994, Epson released the first high resolution color inkjet printer (considering 720x720 dpi high resolution), the Epson Stylus Color (P860A). This printer also utilized the Micro Piezo head technology.
In 1994 Epson started outsourcing sales reps to help sell their products in retail stores in the United States. In 1994 Epson started the Epson Weekend Warrior sales program. The purpose of the program was to help improve sales, improve retail sales rep's knowledge of Epson products and to address Epson customer service in a retail environment. Reps were assigned weekend shifts typically around 12-20 hours a weekend. Epson started the Weekend Warrior program with TMG Marketing (now Mosaic Sales Solutions), later with Keystone Marketing Inc, then to Mosaic and now with Campaigners INC. The Mosaic contract expired with Epson on June 24, 2007 and Epson is now represented by Campaigners Inc.
In June 2003, the company became public following their listing on the 1st section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TYO: 6724). As of 2007, the Hattori family (founder of Seiko Holdings, Seiko Instruments and Seiko Epson) and its related individuals and companies are still major shareholders of Seiko Epson and have the power. Although the three companies in the Seiko Group have some common shareholders including the key members of the Hattori family, they are not affiliated. They are managed and operated completely independently. Epson has established its own brand image and rarely uses "Seiko."
In 2004 Epson introduced their digital rangefinder camera, the Epson R-D1, which takes Leica M mount lenses and Leica screw mount lenses with an adapter ring. This camera is the first digital rangefinder on the market. Because its sensor is smaller than the standard 35 mm film frame for which the lenses it takes are designed, lenses mounted on the R-D1 have the field of view of a lens 1.53 times as long as their stated focal length would have on a standard 35mm camera. As of 2006 the R-D1 has been replaced by the R-D1s. The R-D1s is less expensive but its hardware is identical. Epson has released a firmware patch to bring the R-D1 up to the full functionality of its successor - the first digital camera manufacturer to make such an upgrade available for free.
- Main article: ESC/P
To control its printers, Epson introduced a printer control language, the Epson Standard Code for Printers or (ESC/P), which became a sort of industry standard for controlling print formatting during the era of dot matrix printers.
- Main article: Epson ink cartridge controversy
In recent years, Epson has been accused of manufacturing expensive consumables for their printers. It is also said that the company is forcing customers to purchase replacement ink cartridges before they are truly spent by using 'intelligence chips' to count how many pages have been printed in order to estimate the remaining ink, without actually monitoring the true ink levels.
References and footnotes
- ^ Epson at a Glance, Investor Relations, Epson
- ^ "There are risks related to Epson's major shareholders" in "Risks Related to Epson's Business Operations" of Epson 2006 Annual Report (Page 47)
External linksWikimedia Commons has media related to: Epson
- Seiko Epson Corporation (English)
- Seiko Epson Corporation (Japanese)
- Epson Worldwide - www.epson.com (English)
- Epson Web Sites
- Epson UK - www.epson.co.uk
- Epson Europe online stores
- Epson India
- Epson Uk online store
- Epson Milestones
- US Epson Support
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