The end of the road for Konica Minolta's photographic aspirations?
UPDATE: DPNow regular from Japan adds more news
UPDATE: Official press releases on Konica Minolta's withdrawal pan and the transfer of DSLR assets to Sony.
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Reports are coming in this morning that Konica Minolta has decided to end its photographic operations in the light of continued losses and a shrinking film market.
We haven't yet received official confirmation, but we understand that film production is cease and the entire camera business, including digital cameras (Update: - looks like it's only actually the Maxxum/Dynax DSLR system), is to be acquired by Sony. Konica Minolta will continue in more specialised and profitable fields like industrial and medical imaging as well as optics.
Just over two years ago Konica and Minolta were forced to merge as both companies struggled for profitability in the office and photographic imaging markets.
Last year Sony announced that it would work with Konica Minolta to develop its DSLR camera strategy. It now appears that collaboration has resulted in a more fundamental move.
We'll be updating this story once we have further news.
DPNow Forum regular, Yoshi, who is based in Japan has added these details:
1) camera products:
Sony assumes after sales services for all products of each brand of KM, Konica and Minolta.
Sony will introduce new products using the alpha mount in the coming summer.
2) photo products: (such as films & papers)
KM will stop the production in the second half of the next fiscal year, which is April,2006 to March, 2007.
KM reduces the employment by 3700 out of current 33 thousands globaly.