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Konica Minolta Exits Camera, Mini Lab Business

1/19/2006 08:33:00 AM Eastern

Mahwah, N.J. — Konica Minolta announced a sweeping overhaul of its imaging business today, declaring that it will exit the film and digital camera market globally, sell portions of its SLR technology to Sony and cease production and marketing of retail photo printing equipment.

The moves were an effort to “concentrate on its core business technologies field and its strategic optics and display devices,” the company said in a statement.

Konica Minolta will stop manufacturing and selling its own digital cameras and concentrate instead on supplying lenses for the forthcoming Sony d-SLR based on Konica Minolta’s Maxxum/Dynax lens technology.

Sony will inherit customer service obligations for existing Konica Minolta cameras as of April. Sony will acquire Konica Minolta’s SLR technology at the end of the March and will have its own SLR by the summer, Konica Minolta said.

On the retail printing side, Konica Minolta will stop producing mini labs by the end of March and shift service of its installed base of kiosks and mini labs to Noritsu Koki. The company expects to shed 3,700 employees worldwide, partially through early retirement.

The Japanese camera maker cited a troubled transition to digital as the reason for the pullout: “In today’s era of digital cameras, where image sensor technologies such as CCD is indispensable, it became difficult to timely provide competitive products even with our top optical, mechanical and electronics technologies.”