Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A color monopoly is born: XRITE, GMB Merge

This is not a rumor, it's a done deal. The two 800 pound gorillas of the Colour Management market have got married. The marriage ceremony is valued at $280 Million. Color is serious business nowadays.

Here is the Gretag-side link to this announcement and here is the Xrite-side page .

The CEO of the merged company should first be the present CEO of XRITE, Mr. Michael Ferrara. The present CEO of GMB, Mr. Tom Vacchiano should replace him within 18 months, according to info which I was given. Mary Chowning of Xrite will be CFO, Francis Lamy of GMB CTO. The new HQ will be located in Grandville, Michigan, not Regensdorf. It would seem that digital imaging products rather than industrial color is the center of gravity of the new company.

I knew that Xrite was cash-rich. I didn't know they were that rich.

Having observed -on previous occasions- the fanatical cost-cutting that accompanies these US-driven mergers, I would guess that there will soon be a bunch of color marketing execs and even a few color-scientists looking for work. Not to speak of manufacturing . Maybe some of these idled guys and gals will set up the much needed competition to the newborn giant.

However, there is also the possibility that the new management will redirect the freed R&D and marketing resources to create the cheaper, simpler colour management products that the desktop publishing and photo market really needs. I certainly hope they will do this.

On a more serious note, I think that melding Xrite's excellent design for usability with Gretag's measurement precision will be good for existing users in the short term. Both companies have a good rep with users and good products.


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