Sells digital SLR assets to Sony.
Konica Minolta has announced that it no longer will be producing cameras--digital or film"?with its own nameplate. The company has sold its assets related to digital SLR cameras"?cameras, lenses, and accessories--to Sony (effective March 31 of this year), and also has consigned its customer-service operation for Konica Minolta cameras and related products to Sony. The company will continue to produce digital SLR camera bodies and lenses for Sony, but these will carry the Sony badge. Konica Minolta reports that it will now "concentrate on its core business-technologies field and its strategic optics and display devices field," including optics, medical equipment, and copiers.
"In today's era of digital cameras, where image-sensor technologies such as CCD is indispensable, it became difficult to provide competitive products"?even with our top optical, mechanical, and electronics technologies," Konica Minolta reports. "?Profits for the camera and photo businesses have worsened in recent years, and it became necessary to drastically reform the business structure for the further growth of Konica Minolta."
In addition, the company will cease making photographic paper and film, effective March 2007, and will cease production of its Konica Minolta-brand minilabs by the end of March 2006. It has consigned the service and maintenance operations of its minilabs to Noritsu.
Sony is planning to develop digital SLR cameras that will be compatible with Konica Minolta's Maxxum/Dynax lens-mount system, Konica Minolta reports. In July 2005, the two companies announced that they had reached an agreement to begin joint development of digital SLR cameras, and that these cameras would be based on and compatible with the Maxxum/Dynax system.