Xerox, an icon of corporate America that pioneered the office copy machine as well as the graphic interface and mouse used with today’s computers, only to be blindsided by the digital revolution, is coming under Japanese control.
The company said on Wednesday that it would combine its operations with its joint venture with Fujifilm Holdings of Japan. Fujifilm would own just over 50 percent of the business, which would aim to cut $1.7 billion in costs in coming years.
The deal would bring to an end Xerox’s 115 years as an independent company. Its copy machines were once so popular that the word “Xerox” became a ubiquitous verb for making copies, whether on one of its machines or on those of its rivals.
But in recent decades, it grappled with the rise of email and the move by offices around the world to send and share documents electronically. Activist shareholders like Carl Icahn had pushed the company to get new board members and to shake up its business.
Xerox has its origins in the founding in 1903 of the M. H. Kuhn company, according to its official corporate history, and in its early days made and sold photographic paper. It won the right to explore a technology, invented by Chester Carlson, that led to the creation of the modern copy machine in 1938, and in 1959 Xerox offered an office copier that popularized the device.
It was less successful, however, with some other innovations, especially considering how popular the technologies became when adopted by others.
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