Will Xerox’s $6.4 Billion Bet on the Cloud Pay off?

imagesXerox (s xrx), the document management company, said today it will buy Affiliated Computing Systems (s acs) in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $6.4 billion. The combination of the two companies highlights the convergence of corporate documents and the cloud as with the ACS buy, Xerox will now manage not only both paper and digital data, but corporate data centers and other IT services. The trend is clear as hardware vendors look at the large-scale computer outsourcers and see in them a captive audience of customers for their gear, but also a growth opportunity in delivering data and information technology assets via the web. Read More about Will Xerox’s $6.4 Billion Bet on the Cloud Pay off?

Cheap Acquisition Target?: Sustainable Printing Software GreenPrint

greenprintlogoAlmost anyone would agree with the goal of Portland, Ore., startup GreenPrint: end wasteful printing. But as The New York Times points out in a profile this weekend on the company, which makes software to reduce unnecessary pages in a printing cycle, working out the business model and technical hurdles to sell a product that supports this goal is difficult. After four years of development, GreenPrint’s consumer-facing free software is being actively used on a daily basis by only around 25,000 people. The Times says companies have been reluctant to buy the startup’s corporate version “until GreenPrint worked out a host of technical issues,” like the fact that when the software encountered big documents it really slowed down the printing process.

But in addition to technical issues bogging down the plan, the business model actually leaves a lot to be desired. GreenPrint offers a free downloadable consumer version, a premium $30 consumer product, and a version for corporations that costs $70 per user. Free downloads from a company’s web site are generally a very difficult way to bring in revenues. GreenPrint is trying to bring in revenue by selling ads on the free version, but I can’t picture too many advertisers lining up for that. In addition, it can be hard to convince customers using something for free to upgrade to a $30 premium version.
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