(formerly GCC Technologies), a company that manufactures high-speed, high quality laser printers, is planning Mac OS X drivers for its entire product line. GCC, which is displaying its wares at this week’s National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in Chicago, already has one laser printer series, the Elite 21, that’s ready for Mac OS X.
“Right now the Mac OS X software is available for download from our Web site and should be on the next round of installer CDs,” Wendi LeBlanc, GCC’s director of marketing, told MacCentral. “Our goal is to have Mac OS X drivers for our entire product line by Macworld New York.”
GCC will be exhibiting at MWNY. In fact, the company has a constant presence at the Mac trade shows. If you’re not familiar with them, it’s because the company bypasses traditional distribution channels and sells directly to the customer, through both its Web site and via phone (800-422-7777). Interestingly, GCC has a long history with the Mac. The company, back when it was called GCC Technologies, made one of the first hard drives for the Mac, for instance.
Founded in 1981 by CEO Kevin Curran, COO John Tylko, and Doug Macrae, GCC Printers was initially a major player in the consumer electronics explosion, creating and enhancing such games as “Ms. Pac Man” and generating over US$800 million in revenue for Atari and Bally Manufacturing. By 1984, the company had become a pioneer in the development of internal hardware and peripherals for the new Mac environment, including the internal Macintosh hard disk drive, personal laser printer, portable printer and sub-$1,000 laser printer. More recently, GCC led the way in developing Internet addressable printer technology allowing Web browser management for network printers.
GCC moved away from hard drives to the printer business because the hard drive market is more of a “commodity market,” according to Tom Linzey, GCC’s vice president of technical services/customer support. They shipped their last hard drive in 1995.
NECC is a good show for the company because education is a space where the company does well, LeBlanc said. After Apple bowed out of the laser printer business, GCC was a natural fit for the market and the educational space, she said. In fact, the company’s laser printer engines are effectively the same as those that were in some of the late Apple LaserWriter line. And GCC toner is compatible with the Apple printers.
“We saw an immediate improvement in the education space for laser printers when Apple got out,” LeBlanc said. “There was less of an improvement for us in the business space because Hewlett Packard and other companies jumped in.”
“Our engineering department has had a number of firsts for which larger players have taken credit because they have bigger advertising budgets,” LeBlanc said.
GCC is unusual in that they prefer to deal directly with customers, eliminate channel markup and offer the best price/performance in systems designed for the smallest business to the largest enterprise, she added. Through direct contact with its customers, GCC offers a combination of price, quality, customer service, support and strong warranties that are unmatched in the industry, Linzey said. The key to success now and in the future is to drive and nurture customer loyalty, he added.
Linzey doesn’t feel that Mac OS X will have a big impact, one way or the other, on GCC sales. However, he does think the next generation operating system will have a positive, long-term effect for the Mac platform.
“We’ve been working with Apple extensively on Mac OS X support,” he said. “We feel very good about the operating system.”