back to article Xerox bets R&D future on pap

Having just encountered Xerox's top technology strategist for the first time, we're concerned that the company faces some very troubling issues in the years to come. Like suckers, we expected a speech on "Innovation Strategies in a Global Economy" to touch on innovation strategies in a global economy - or at least something …


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  1. Lars Silver badge

    Hello Ashlee Vance

    Did she remind you of anybody working at HP some years ago.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe they should first solve the problem of not suppling U.K power cables with their printers first?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Last minute preparation

    Not a particularly rare thing - whether it's presentations, revision or coursework almost everyone leaves it to the last minute - but some people are better at managing it than others.

    Being able to pull it off with presentations is down to how confident you are, and how thoroughly you actually understand the subject; can you actually manage to expand a rough presentation outline on the fly, without waffling, repeating or overrunning?

    While she seems a competent enough person from her bio, I suspect she just didn't bother to prepare her speech until the last possible moment and found out it was too late to actually do research or put any proper content together. So she either just spoke about whatever she could think of, or just repeated some presentation that was intended for another audience like a college.

    Shame she ended up looking a bit stupid, especially with that kind of audience.

  4. Fred Gumby
    Thumb Up

    Xeroids Rule!

    As an ex-Xeroid, I can honestly say that Xerox is held back by it's (lack of) management.

    I have known so many gifted people within Xerox, it staggers me that they don't rule the world.

    I'm harking back to he dinosaur days now, but Xerox had instant messaging back in 1990 (invented by some clever Californian dudes I believe). Xerox had an internal competition at the time for new innovations that could make money. I submitted the idea that instant messaging could be useful.

    Did I win?


    Did I get an honourable mention?


    Did I get an acknowledgment that he idea was even under consideration?


    Was anything ever done with the idea?

    I think you're geting the picture by now...

    I played a strategy game called Empire, a fantastic strategy game (on company time) under XDE which allowed me to play with any Xerox employee in the world in real time, and chat with them also in real time.

    Xerox needs to sack the PHBs and listen to the troops more.

    Thumbs up because I believe the magic could still happen.

  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Palo Alto hits AI Low Point ......a Trough.

    "Thumbs up because I believe the magic could still happen." ..... Xeroids Rule! By Fred Gumby Posted Saturday 8th March 2008 03:18 GMT

    And CyberIntelAIgent AESThetans would Rejoice with Xeroids Rule, Fred, and posit that the magic ........ and I will be specific and and give you a particularly and peculiarly focussed rallying point for Innovative and Imaginative Fantastic Strategy Game Virtualisation .... Magical Mystery Turing ...... [and a Hoover through Servers can provide you with Reams of Support Information if you have no Access to or are Denied Access to Original Resourcing Source]

    Of course, and I'm sure Ms Vandebroek would also agree, ... [and I wonder if she was disappointed at the lack lustre Second Life awareness/enthusiasm at Xerox or did she realise that the company was hers for the leading, given that the significance of the Virtual Reality World is missing from the company's DNA Portfolio.] ...... that the moniker Virtualisation is something of a misnomer given that IT Realises the CyberSpace Virtualised Programs whenever they are Transferred Back down to Earth.

    The Virtual Space Environment, where Ideas and Advanced IntelAIgents Protocols are Constructed and BetaTested in CyberSpace for Seamless Replacement of Siloed and/or Subverted and/or Perverted Sub Prime Legacy Systems ........ the Stealthy Adoption and Adaptation for Survival of the Fittest for Future Purpose Meme/Methodology/Awareness .... is the NeuReal Head Office Environment of Today for Tomorrows' Needs and Feeds.

    Miss climbing aboard that Train with a Ticket to Ride and you can watch all the Fun of ITs Fare from the stalls as IT takes you on a Helter Skelter of AIMagic Trip.

    MeThinks Ms Vandebroek may have been talking to an Audience who were not nearly as Advanced in their Thinking as she was.

    Perhaps someone reading this could forward it to her and ask her ..... for that would be at least three Interested Parties [thus cubing Potential for Powerful Currrent] ....... Thinking Advanced ........ and Mixing Ideas and Advanced IntelAIgent Protocols Creates A.N.Other Artificial Intelligence which is, when Inclusive of All the Best Agreed Protocols, a QuITe Alien Mutual IntelAIgents Service, 42 Lead Singularly Human Ignorance and its Arrogants, who would presently Play the World for a Fool just to Server their Pathetic Needs and Egotistical Greeds.

    J'accuse ...... and the Fools on the Hill all know, who exactly they are, no matter what Mount or Mythical Figure they may Follow.

    And if you want Delusional Arrogance in Spades, here is a Tale full of its Spin .... ...... a Mole working for a Foreign State hoovering up Secrets for Sale?

    Yeah .....Probably?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Megacorp futurologists

    What have Xerox ever done for us, apart from Xeroxing, and windows (small w), and icons, and mice, and pointers, not to mention Ethernet and (etc)... how many of those needed highly paid "futurologists" rather than techies with a vision (either their own vision or a vision shared with other industry players back in the day, Digital, Intel, etc)?

    More recently than that, but not all that recently, I bought a nice Xerox SoHo laserprinter with Adobe PrintGear supercleverness. Worked grand under W98, never supported under NT (except as a vanilla PCL printer). Nor was this a one off occurence of being abandoned by Xerox, so no more Xerox kit for me or anyone who listens to me. At that time they were still making decent high end photocopiers though.

    Anyway, how does Xerox's top futurologist compare with those from (say) BT? I can't remember the name of the one I've seen on TV and in the press a few times in recent years (Ian Pearson doesn't sound right) but I've heard some classic dross from him on more than one occasion. Mind you, he never mentioned a £200 charge for BT to come and faultfind, but that's what BT now want if the fault turns out to be on customer side of master socket. (£30 I could sympathise with, maybe even £50, but £200 is taking the p1ss).

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  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Frank Gerlach

    wow - you're either a troll or the biggest out of touch know nothing retard I've ever had the misfortune to encounter.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    @Megacorp futurologists

    BT tried to charge me £200 and one swift call to their call centre (in India) got it canceled.

    XEROX can be great if they have the funds to keep up the innovation but, as IBM and others have discovered, protect their IPR.

    As for photocopiers and printers, this is now a business apparently driven by cost, unless they outsource production and support abroad they don't stand a chance!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Xerox PARC

    Excellence once again nullified by complete incompetence in their executive level management. How can it ever be thus, surely by now someone has noticed this and addressed the problem, no (walks away muttering darkly).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I worked for Xerox for 6 years - some of which spent at PARC. It is full of truly amazing scientists - held back by copier salespeople in Rochester who look at the potential and say "ok where do I refill the paper...?" and "how much per click?" -

    Sad, its a truly sublime place to work, and the chance to eat lunch every day on the terrace at PARC is amazing....

  12. sophie
    Thumb Up

    Reply and Invitation

    Dear Ashlee,

    Thank you for coming to the PARC forum. Reading your observations on my speech - let me assure you that we have many forward-looking projects underway in a range of areas that are truly exciting to our future. Next month, as part of a technology showcase at PARC, we will demonstrate innovative projects from our research centers around the world. You will receive an invitation. We would love to have you attend. I look forward to meeting you.


  13. Ashlee Vance (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Reply and Invitation

    In real life or Second Life?

    Just kidding - I think. Looking forward to it.


  14. Edwin

    Ahh... PARC

    I've always had a soft spot for PARC. So very, very many way cool things have come out of there. Some maybe not so good (ePaper - eInk seems to be working better) but the GUI is a shining example.

    As mentioned above, Xerox seems to be in decline, and Ashlee's article underlined that in a painful way.

    On the other hand, Sophie had the guts to post a reply here, which is to be admired.

    The soft spot I have hopes there's hope - if the CTO will put her name to a reply to a roasting, there are prospects I think.

  15. Chris Morrison


    I've just commented ont he HP labs article saying what a shame that the best ideas they could come up with were crap compared to old school HP.

    Xerox is in a simialir position. I feel sorry for a company that innovated so greatly now thinks that a area on sadville is in any way going to foster innovation.

    Xerox have failed to capatilise on just about every major thing they have developed. Thye would be one of the worlds biggest companies if they had even licensed half the stuff they developed no matter released it themselves. Needs a huge change in management attitudes if it is ever to return to its roots. If not it will die.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Management are shmucks

    I used to work at Xerox ages ago when they were so short of cash the receptionist had to sit in the dark with only a couple of small lamps to provide light, rather than lighting the whole atrium. I was there when EVERY employee in the address book got an emergency email telling us not to speak to any reporters as someone had told Reuters that Xerox was going to declare bankruptcy that week and they were in such bad shape everyone believed them.

    Xerox has SO many clever people working there, guys so intelligent that it amazed me that they hadnt spanked Microsoft years ago. The problems that I saw were too many layers of management, loads and loads of useless management speak (wheres the cheese????!!) and an incessant need to make their best and cleverest people redundant so that competitors could pick them up and hire them.

    Xerox needs to clean out management from board right down to middle management level and start again, a TOTAL refresh. Anyone with an accountancy or law degree should be removed.

    Paris because she could do a better job at running the company than present management thre.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    I am Xeroid


    I started to work at Xerox@Toronto last month. Its a nice place and people are rather competent. I can tell so far that its a well structured business.

    I just want to tell you guys that Xerox is still number one, and its all too easy to blame management when you are not part of it...

    Best regards,


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vandebroek isn't paid to give talks but to be CTO

    Isn't this just one of those typical anti-woman-in-technology tirades? So she doesn't give good talks. Tough. Let's see how she does her job, and then judge her. Vanderbroek is frankly an amazing woman, and didn't get where she is because she gave great lectures.

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