*January 19, 2006 – *Konica Minolta has announced that it will be withdrawing from the camera business as of March 31, 2006 to concentrate on its "core ‘business technologies’ field and its strategic ‘optics and display devices’ field." They have made a deal to transfer their patent and technology assets concerning digital SLRs to Sony.
This transfer of assets to Sony includes their plethora of image sensor technologies (CCD and CMOS), as well as camera service for Konica Minolta brand cameras beginning April 1, 2006. With this technology Sony will develop digital SLRs compatible with the Maxxum/Dynax lens mounts.
In addition to stopping the production and sale of their digital cameras, Konica Minolta will also be phasing out color film and color paper by March 31, 2007. They have also made a deal with Noritsu Koki Co to transfer their Konica Minolta brand mini-lab business. Noritsu Koki Co will provide maintenance, customer service and peripheral equipment to retail photo shops that use Konica Minolta color film developing and digital kiosk printers as of April 1, 2006.
The effect of this pull-out from the camera industry includes a layoff of 3,700 jobs within Konica Minolta, some of which will include early retirement offers.