Fuji Xerox to launch Dropbox-like cloud storage service for its copiers

The Japanese company's new copiers will allow documents to be scanned or faxed directly to its online service.

Fuji Xerox will launch a new cloud storage service that hooks directly into its multifunction copiers next week, allowing documents to be uploaded by scan or fax, then edited or downloaded by computer or phone.

The "Working Folder" service will provide features similar to that of existing cloud services and standard file servers, with encryption, versioning and access control by user. But Fuji Xerox stressed its tight integration with a new line of copiers that will go on sale Monday, saving potential clients the hassle of linking up offerings from disparate companies or managing their own servers.

The service is organized around a concept of virtual filing cabinets, containing "drawers" and "folders" that can be shared among users. Documents can be accessed online through a Web browser, or edited and downloaded directly via dedicated software for Windows and Mac OS, as well as Android and iOS devices.

A myriad of similar online storage services exist, and many such as Dropbox and Evernote can sync with faxes and scanners. But hardware makers are rushing to launch cloud offerings that work seamlessly with their products, as a way to lock in clients and a buffer against commoditization amid falling profit margins.

Fuji Xerox's new offering will have a basic fee of 3,500 (US$45) per month, which will allow 10 users to access 10 GB of shared storage. Additional users can storage can also be added.

The company is aiming for 10,000 contracts per year, and is also considering launching outside of Japan, a spokesman said.

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