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Kodak Launches a Printer Offensive

CEO Antonio Perez wants to grab market share from Hewlett-Packard with less expensive ink and long-lasting color

Antonio Perez left the inkjet printer business seven years ago, after he lost out to Carly Fiorina in a bid to run Hewlett-Packard. But it has never been far from his mind. That's why, a few weeks after he joined a struggling Eastman Kodak as president on Apr. 2, 2003, he was peering into a microscope in a lab in Building 82-A on Kodak's sprawling Rochester (N.Y.) campus. Perez was amazed at what he saw: droplets of a new ink produced by Kodak scientists that could yield photo prints with vivid colors that would last a lifetime. "It was the Holy Grail of inkjet printing, and they had it here," recalls Perez.

Since then, Perez and Kodak (EK) have been working on a top-secret plan, code-named Goya, to make a big entrance into the consumer inkjet printer business. For the past year, a Kodak development team has been putting the finishing touches on printer technologies in a nondescript building across the street from HP's inkjet printer lab in suburban San Diego. On Feb. 6, it becomes clear what they were up to when Perez, now Kodak's chief executive, announces a new product line of multipurpose machines that not only handle photographs and documents but make copies and send faxes.