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06-26-2006, 05:24 PM
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Canon to launch commercial digital printer

Wed Jun 7, 10:31 PM ET

Japan's Canon Inc. said on Thursday it would enter the growing commercial digital printer market by the end of this year, aiming to gain a 20 percent share of the $9 billion global market in five years.
The country's top precision equipment maker plans to introduce its first commercial digital printer by the end of 2006 with a target to make it a 100 billion yen ($881 million) business in the next two to three years, a company spokesman said.
Offering growth products is important for Canon as Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. plan to launch their first digital single-lens reflex cameras -- a high-end camera that uses interchangeable lenses -- later this year, stoking competition in the market Canon now dominates.
Its office equipment business, which includes printers, accounts for two-thirds of its total sales, while camera operations represent slightly less than one quarter.
Canon will compete with U.S. makers such as Xerox Corp. and Eastman Kodak in the commercial digital printer market. Xerox now controls more than half the market, according to the Nihon Keizai business daily.
Digital printers directly process printing jobs from computers and are suited to printing different types of materials in small volumes such as catalogues, and Canon estimates a double-digit growth in the market, the spokesman said.
He added that the price of the company's first product will be in the mid-range of commercial digital printers, which usually cost between 10 million yen and 100 million yen.
Shares in Canon were down 3.1 percent at 7,520 yen by midday, underperforming the Nikkei average, which lost 2.29 percent.
($1=113.45 Yen)

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