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March 6, 1988

THE MATURE COPIER BUSINESS GETS THUMBS DOWN FROM ANALYSTS

By CBR Staff Writer

Poor Xerox Corp is like the child prodigy who achieved far too much, much too soon and spent the rest of his life vainly trying to repeat the trick – and the latest of its efforts to diversify and reduce its dependence on the mature copier business is getting an emphatic thumbs down from analysts who reckon that the company should sell its Crum & Forster financial services business but doubt that it would get its money back on the deal: the financial services adventure is only the latest in a string of unhappy attempts at diversification – Scientific Data Systems, the move into office systems, Shugart, the dismal display in the personal computer market, Ethernet, which has benefitted the whole computer world bar Xerox, the icon-based user interface dreamed up at the Palo Alto Research Center that has made a couple of fortunes for Apple Computer, scarcely a red cent for Xerox – summed up by the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street column in the fact that in 1971, Xerox shares stood at $170, now they’re $61 – and there haven’t been any splits in the meantime.

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