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The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

29 May, 2014 By: David Gibbons

Former foes Static Control Components (the aftermarket component supplies giant) and Lexmark (the well-known printer manufacturer), who have been battling it out in court for more than 10 years, appear to have put their differences aside—at least temporarily—and now stand side-by-side in Poland to jointly fight the curse of the clones cartridges there.

Lexmark manufactures its own brand of cartridges in western Poland and has a vested interest, as does Static Control, to see the illegal and menacing clones eradicated there.

This unity of purpose set me thinking about the difference between a competitor and an enemy.

Many aftermarket remanufacturers have told me they will never, ever sit in the same room as an OEM, explaining, “They are the enemy because they are doing everything they can to kill us.”

I enjoyed lunch recently with Pankaj Chawla, who is the Research Manager with industry analyst group IDC Asia/Pacific, based in Singapore. He told me in his view, that there is a subtle yet significant difference between a competitor and an enemy.

“The aftermarket industry needs to understand that difference,” said Chawla.

Consider This

The late Ed Swartz knew it also. I remember him spelling it out for me at his Static Control, Sanford headquarters. He looked almost stern as he eye-balled me directly.

“If the OEMs didn’t make the cartridges in the first place, we wouldn’t have anything to remanufacture. So it’s a symbiotic relationship,” said Swartz. He added the aftermarket must respect the likes of Hewlett-Packard.

And now, Static Control and Lexmark have joined forces in Poland because they have a common enemy, adding truth to the saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

Rechargers would do well to stop and think about the competitor/enemy difference and to modify their own thinking and business strategies accordingly.

 Yes, the OEMs, who have bigger pockets; are being brutally tough as they fight to protect their respective intellectual property rights, and market shares.

However, ask yourself this: “Is my competitor my enemy or a possible partner when it comes to common industry threats and opportunities?”


David Gibbons is Director, Publisher & Producer for the Recycling Times Media Corporation, based in China.  Recycling Times magazine is in English, Spanish and Chinese monthly, in addition, their trade show RemaxAsia in China, and launched the RT Imaging Summit in the USA, in May. Visit: www.irecyclingtimes.com for info.

About the Author: David Gibbons

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