Xerox gives away PARC

Palo Also Research Center given to non-profit researcher SRI International

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Xerox Parc
Xerox PARC

Xerox has donated its ground breaking Palo Alto Research Center, better known as PARC, to SRI International, a nonprofit research institute.

As part of this arrangement, Xerox and SRI have set up a preferred research agreement, called the Technology Exploration and Innovation Program, whereby SRI will provide contracted research and development services to Xerox and its clients. Xerox and SRI will target areas relevant to Xerox’s core print, digital and IT Services business and create proofs-of-concept and roadmaps to implementation. Xerox will also retain a branded Innovation Hub at PARC to host meetings, demonstrations and annual conferences for its clients.

The donation includes all the assets of PARC though Xerox told me, “Xerox will retain a majority of the patents that reside within PARC. Xerox will continue to benefit from a preferred research agreement with SRI/PARC, enabling access to startups that SRI/PARC incubates that utilize Xerox IP, providing further innovation insights.”

Steve Bandrowczak, chief executive officer at Xerox, explained, “This decision allows both Xerox and PARC to focus on delivering innovations and solutions that align with their own strengths and capabilities. With this arrangement, PARC’s deep tech innovations will be sustained by SRI while allowing Xerox to simplify and optimize its operations and focus solutions on the continued evolution of hybrid work.”

As Bandrowczak noted, “For more than half a century, PARC and its employees have been at the forefront of some of the world’s most important technological developments.” PARC was founded in 1970 with a wide ranging remit to research into just about anything that might be interesting. This famously included the concept of a Graphical User Interface which Steve Jobs later incorporated into the MacOS, while Chuck Geshke and David Warnock developed PostScript before leaving to form Adobe. Other notable projects include developing ethernet, object orientated programming and laser printing. In 2002 Xerox established PARC as an independent company.

Bandrowczak concluded, “Xerox will forever be proud of PARC’s role in our history and its continued innovation that solves the world’s most pressing challenges.” It’s worth noting that PARC was one of several such research centers that Xerox established, and Xerox continues to run the Xerox Research Centre of Canada in Ontario, Canada, and the North Carolina Center of Excellence in Cary, USA.

Xerox Parc IP spawns Novity

Last year Xerox spun out Novity, a start-up founded by PARC that has developed and commercialized industrial predictive maintenance technology. Novity has created an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology that uses equipment sensors and proprietary algorithms to enable industrial manufacturers to see the future health of their production assets without large amounts of historical data. At the heart of it is Novity’s TruPrognostics engine that uses a combination of machine learning and physics-based models of equipment, predicting failures with 90% or better accuracy giving businesses several months of warning rather than weeks or days.

Markus Larsson, founder and CEO of Novity, stated at the time, “Our commitment to existing and future industrial customers is to fundamentally transform the performance of a key part of their operations and ensure that it performs consistently and predictably.” He added, “With the combination of our team and PARC’s IP embedded in the Novity TruPrognostics engine, we’re well on the way to deliver on our mission to make manufacturers operate cleaner, faster and better.”

I asked Xerox if the company still owned a stake in Novity following the transfer of PARC to SRI and a corporate spokesperson told me, “In the last three years, PARC further took on a strategic role within Xerox to incubate and launch new ventures targeting large growth markets, such as Novity and Mojave that were spun out in 2022. With the spin out, Xerox maintains a minority stake in Novity. Xerox is proud of PARC’s many contributions to the world throughout its history and is extremely supportive and excited about the fact that PARC will continue its mission of introducing disruptive technologies in the future under the stewardship of SRI.”

For its part, SRI International has been around for nearly 80 years, working on things such as the development and creation of Arpanet, the Siri voice assistant, tele-robotics technologies and cancer treatments. The company has a number of facilities in the US, including Menlo Park in California, Princeton in New Jersey, Ann Arbor in Michigan, Boulder in Colorado, Washington D.C., and in the Shenandoah Valley.

David Parekh, CEO of SRI International, stated, “Some of the world’s most defining innovations have been fueled by research from pioneering talent at both SRI International and PARC.” He continued, “SRI International’s rich history combined with PARC’s track record and legacy of breakthrough innovation opens the door to extraordinary new technological advances and the bold impact for which both organizations are known. I am tremendously excited that we are bringing this visionary organization into the SRI family, creating a fusion of innovation icons.”

Xerox 2023 Q1 profits US$ 71 million – repays US$ 450 million debt

The decision to step away from PARC comes as Xerox released its first quarter results for this year, which showed some improvement in its fortunes. Overall revenue was up 2.8% over Q1 2022 from US$ 1.63 billion to US$ 1.72 billion, mostly driven by its printing activities. Profits before tax were up from a loss of US$ 89 million in Q1 2022 to a profit of US$ 85 million this year while the net income was a profit of US$ 71 million in Q1 this year, over a loss of US$ 57 million in Q1 last year. The company also repaid US$ 450 million of debt during this quarter. Nonetheless, Xerox is predicting that its revenue growth for this year will be flat or in low single digits. Despite this, Xerox declared a quarterly dividend of $0.25 per share on Xerox Holdings Corporation Common Stock and a quarterly dividend of $20.00 per share on the outstanding Xerox Holdings Series A Convertible Perpetual Preferred Stock.

I think that it’s impossible to overstate the contribution that both PARC and SRI have made to the world around us. It’s hard to guess how much of this is down to competition between these organisations but hopefully bringing these teams together will lead to further innovations. You can find further information on Xerox from xerox.com and on PARC from parc.com, and its new owners at sri.com.

Originally published on 3rd May 2023 – Republished here by permission of www.nessancleary.co.uk

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