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Thursday, January 19, 2006
Konica Minolta to Stop Making Cameras


Konica Minolta, one of the world's leading photographic equipment makers, said it would stop making all cameras because the market had become too competitive.

The company plans to slash 3,700 jobs or about 11 percent of its global workforce by 2007 under a restructuring package that will also see part of its business making high-end digital cameras sold off to Sony.

Konica Minolta will also gradually stop making camera film by 2007 to focus on its more profitable optics and medical imaging activities.

"In today's era of digital cameras... it became difficult to timely provide competitive products even with our top optical, mechanical and electronics technologies," the company said in a statement on its website.

"For color film and color paper, while considering our customer needs, we will step-by-step reduce product lineup and cease our film production and color paper by the end of fiscal year ending March 31, 2007," it added.

Since July 2005, Sony Corporation and Konica Minolta Photo Imaging, Inc. have been working on the joint development of digital single lens reflex (SLR) cameras. Sony, Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc. and Konica Minolta PI announced today that they have decided to transfer a certain portion of Konica Minolta's assets related to digital SLR cameras to Sony.

Under this agreement, on March 31 2006, Sony will receive certain assets from Konica Minolta that are necessary for the development, design, production and so forth of digital SLR cameras compatible with Konica Minolta PI's ?Maxxum/Dynax lens mount system?. Sony will accelerate development of new digital SLR cameras based on and compatible with the Maxxum/Dynax lens mount system with a view to marketing these models this summer.

The announcement comes less than a week after Nikon unveiled plans to stop selling most of its film cameras to focus on hot-selling digital models.


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