Konica Minolta and Océ End Development Relationship

Jim Hamilton
Feb 12, 2010

In another indication that Canon’s planned acquisition of Océ is moving toward completion, Konica Minolta and Océ have mutually announced that they are ending their joint development efforts, which had centered around cut-sheet monochrome and color output systems for the production printing market. Konica Minolta and Océ said that they would continue to supply production printing systems to each other on an OEM basis, under the OEM sales agreement. They will also continue to supply consumables and parts and offer after-sales service for products already in the market.

The OEM relationship had started with Konica Minolta providing its 50- and 65-ppm color copier/printers to Océ. It expanded when Konica Minolta announced its bizhub PRO 2500P, an OEM version of Océ’s VarioPrint 6250. The companies announced a formal partnership for a development and marketing relationship in January of 2008.

The fate of this development relationship came into doubt as soon as Canon announced its intention to purchase Océ. Internally it must have been a very tricky issue to deal with since clearly engineers from both companies were working very closely together. Who knows how close they were to announcing a joint product? Combining Konica high-speed color capability with Océ’s knowledge of paper handling, workflow, and finishing had the potential to produce some very interesting new offerings.

Of course as soon as Canon came into the picture, the Konica Minolta-Océ relationship was doomed. Today’s announcement should come as no surprise but it is too bad that it came at the expense of some Konica Minolta/Océ joint developments that will now be unlikely ever to see the light of day.

The development relationship is over, and once the acquisition closes we can expect to see Canon products replacing the Konica Minolta offerings in the Océ product line. That will take time, particularly given the additional effort that Océ has put into products like its CS Tandem family, which uses multiple of the Konica Minolta 65-ppm engines in multi-engine configuration. After the acquisition, Konica Minolta may also look for production alternatives to Océ’s VarioPrint 6250 engine. What had been a promising development and marketing relationship is now winding down. For Océ, the next step will be adapting to Canon ownership. For Konica Minolta, there will likely be new partnerships to explore.

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