Konica Minolta and Kodak to partner in cut sheet

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Feb 24, 2011

Konica Minolta and Kodak have announced that they are deepening their relationship in the monochrome and colour cut sheet digital printer markets. The move comes hot on the heels of Heidelberg’s revelation that its digital printer partner was to be Ricoh.

Under the terms of the Kodak-Konica Minolta deal Kodak will support its range of mid- to high-volume Nexpress and Digimaster machines with Konica Minolta light production and mid-volume bizhub Press and Pro machines in some sales territories. Konica will extend the territories where it sells Kodak Digimaster and NexPress machines.

Kodak will sell Konica Minolta’s bizhub Press C6000, C7000 and C8000 colour machines (60, 70 and 80 A4ppm respectively) in four countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France. In addition it will sell the monochrome bizhub Pro 1200/1200P in the United States.

Konica Minolta will start to sell Kodak’s Digimaster range in Europe and Japan. It will add the NexPress to its US portfolio on top of the Digimaster which it already sells there. An agreement in Australia to sell the NexPress remains.

The timing of the announcement, so close to that of Ricoh/Heidelberg, was to be expected given that Konica Minolta was hotly tipped as the most likely partner for Heidelberg and therefore likely to face questioning about its strategy in the absence of a deal.

These extended agreements reflect the recent changes in the cut sheet digital printer market and round out both companies’ ranges.

With Canon’s acquisition of Océ last year Konica Minolta lost a channel to market for its colour products, and also a supplier of higher volume monochrome machines, having sold some of Océ’s VarioPrint range.

Kodak was selling a cut sheet colour machine, the NexPress M700, as a lower volume complement to the rest of the Nexpress range. Based on Canon’s imagePress C7000VP, it was still a mid-volume machine leaving Kodak without a light production offering for printers wanting to tip a toe in the water of digital.

Nexpress machines will also continue to be sold by Ricoh to offer its customers with a higher volume requirement a product above its Pro C901.

As with Ricoh’s recent deal with Heidelberg this arrangement is a pragmatic approach that provides Konica Minolta with a sales partner with a deep understanding of commercial printers and Kodak with a range of products that helps it to migrate customers to digital print technology. Konica is able to provide customers whose requirements have outgrown its own machines’ production capabilities with a solution and to retain them.

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