Zebra Technologies

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Zebra Technologies
Industry Computer hardware
Founded 1969[1]
Founder Edward L. Kaplan
Gerhard Cless
Headquarters Lincolnshire, Illinois, USA
Area served
Key people
Michael A. Smith
Chairman of the Board
Anders Gustafsson
CEO Director
Products RFID printers/encoders, barcode printers, mobile printers, card imaging printers, kiosk printers, real-time locating systems, UWB and related supplies and services
Revenue Increase $1,038 million - 2013[2]
Increase $182.0 million - 2013[2]
Increase $130.3 million - 2013[2]
Total assets Increase $5,569 million - 2014[3]
Total equity Increase $1,040 million - 2014[3]
Number of employees
7,100 - Spring 2014
Website Zebra.com

Zebra Technologies manufactures and sells marking, tracking and printing technologies such as thermal barcode label and receipt printers, RFID smart label printers/encoders, and card and kiosk printers. Zebra’s products are used for barcode labeling, personal identification and specialty printing solutions principally in the manufacturing supply chain, retail, healthcare and government sectors.

Headquartered in Lincolnshire, Illinois, it has offices in 26 countries, channel partners in more than 100 countries and more than 2,500 employees worldwide. Zebra-brand printers are used by more than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies.[4] In 2013, the company had sales of $1.038 billion and had a market capitalization of $3.6 billion.[2]


Zebra’s products are used primarily to print barcode labels, receipts, plastic identification cards, wristbands and tags and to encode passive RFID smart labels and cards. In 2013, Zebra launched a software platform that enables individuals and businesses to build Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) applications. That same year Zebra also launched MotionWorks Sports Solution. MotionWorks Sports Solution uses active RFID technology to track athletes' on-field performance and convert it into data.


Zebra Technologies office in Heerenveen, The Netherlands.

Zebra was incorporated in 1969 as "Data Specialties Incorporated", a manufacturer of high-speed electromechanical products. The company changed its focus to specialty on-demand labeling and ticketing systems in 1982 and became "Zebra Technologies Corporation" in 1986. Zebra became a publicly traded company in 1991. Since 2008, Zebra has outsourced the majority of its printer manufacturing to Jabil Circuit in Guangzhou, China.[5]

  • 1998: Zebra Technologies merges with Eltron International, Inc.[6]
  • 2000: Comtec Information Systems acquisition: mobile thermal printers.[7]
  • 2003: Atlantek, Inc., acquisition: high-speed thermal digital card printers.[8]
  • 2004: Zebra expands into RFID smart label manufacturing.[9]
  • 2005: Retail Systems International, Inc. (RSI) acquisition: label converting operation.[10]
  • 2006: Swecoin acquisition: direct thermal printers.[11]
  • 2007: WhereNet Corp. acquisition: active RFID.[12]
  • 2007: Proveo AG acquisition: real-time location software and hardware.[13]
  • 2007: Navis Holdings, LLC acquisition: supply chain management; later divested in 2011.[14]
  • 2008: Zebra establishes the Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG); later renamed Zebra Enterprise Solutions (ZES) in 2009.
  • 2008: Multispectral Solutions, Inc., acquisition: Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology real-time locating systems, part of ESG division.[15]
  • 2012: LaserBand, LLC acquisition: patient identification wristbands and related products.[16]
  • 2012: StepOne Systems acquisition: mobility software for retail. Cash purchase price of $1.5 million.[17]
  • 2013: Hart Systems acquisition: cloud-based physical inventory management systems. Cash purchase price of $94 million from the private equity firm Topspin Partners LBO.[18]
  • 2014: Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business acquisition: mobile computing and advanced data capture communications technologies and services. $3.45 billion transaction.[18]


Zebra Technologies has more than 80 offices worldwide.[19] The company has regional headquarters in Vernon Hills, Illinois, and Doral, Florida, in the United States; Bourne End, Buckinghamshire in the United Kingdom; and Singapore. In addition, the company has locations in other parts of the world, including Wisconsin, Rhode Island and California in the United States; Preston, Lancashire in the United Kingdom; Heerenveen in the Netherlands; and Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou in China. Zebra's products are sold in more than 100 countries.

As of April 2014, the company employed more than 2,500 people worldwide. Upon the closing of the Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise business acquisition, Zebra’s workforce is expected to grow by 4,500 employees and its patent portfolio is predicted to exceed 4,100 U.S. and international patents.[20]