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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 10:21 GMT
Konica Minolta quits photo market
Konica Minolta digital camera
Konica Minolta is focusing its business elsewhere
Japanese photographic equipment maker Konica Minolta has announced plans to withdraw from the camera business.

Konica Minolta said the market had become too competitive, and added it would sell its digital camera business to Japanese electronics giant Sony.

Konica Minolta is planning to cut 3,700 jobs, or 11% of its workforce, by 2007 as part of a restructuring drive.

Earlier in January, fellow Japanese cameramaker Nikon said it would stop making most of its film camera line.

Instead, Nikon intends to focus most of its effort on digital cameras.

Digital era

Konica Minolta, which was formed from the merger of the two companies in 2003, warned in November that it was on course to post a full-year net loss of 47bn yen ($408m; 232.5m).

Its decision to ditch the camera business altogether includes the cessation of its colour film and photo paper business, in which it has trailed Eastman Kodak of the US and Japan's Fuji Photo Film.

Instead, it plans to focus on products such as colour office photocopiers and medical imaging equipment.

"In today's era of digital cameras...it became difficult to timely provide competitive products even with our top optical, mechanical and electronics technologies," Konica Minolta said.

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

The global photographic market has been undergoing a major upheaval recently, with many key players withdrawing from traditional areas of the industry.

As well as Nikon's decision, Eastman Kodak has said for some time that digital is to be its priority in the future.


SEE ALSO:
Nikon to focus on digital cameras
12 Jan 06 |  Business
R.I.P. 35mm Camera
15 Jan 04 |  Magazine
Japanese camera firms to merge
07 Jan 03 |  Business


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