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Color is Key for Canon in Japan

1 Jul, 2005 By: Tetsuo Kubo

Color is Key for Canon in Japan

Canon Inc. has released a
high-speed, compact color laser printer—the Satera LBP 5900/5600—that should
assist it in obtaining its goal of earning the No. 1 share for color laser
printers in Japan in 2006.

In addition, Keiji Domon, board director for Canon Sales Co., Inc., announced
the company’s plan to capture total document systems in the whole office by
integrating the new color LBP with its MEAP-enabled (Multifunctional Embedded
Application Platform) MFPs.

The new LBP 5900/5600 machines are four-drum/tandem models that print 30 pages
and 22 pages per minute respectively. Expected monthly shipments of the printers
are 2,000 units and 4,000 units per month.

The LBP 5900, the smallest A3 monochrome, four-drum/tandem color laser model in
the world, can incorporate the “MEAP Lite.” By adding integration functionality
with the equipment, it works to resolve issues in the office, such as security
and operational efficiency.

In 2004, market size for color laser printers reached approximately 2.13 million
units worldwide and 250,000 units in Japan. In 2005, approximately 2.31 million
units, an 8 percent increase, are anticipated to be in place worldwide and
290,000 units, a 16 percent increase, are expected to be in use in Japan.

Haruo Murase, president of Canon Sales Co., Inc., explained the company’s goals
for color and solutions.

“There are two aims with our Satera series laser printers for the office. First
is the change over from monochrome to color, and, second, is further enrichment
of solutions,” Murase explained during a recent announcement. “Looking at the
shift to color, I can see colorization is now surely undergoing a change in the
office. However, color ratio in laser printers was still 23 percent in 2004. By
the way, 34 percent of domestic shipments for imageRunner is color.

“The delay in colorization for laser printers can be attributed to a lack of
affordable color printers,” he added. “With the LBP 5900/5600 we have achieved
both high speed and a compact size. I expect color ratio for laser printers will
rapidly increase from this year and on.”

Murase continued: “Canon has incorporated for the first time for laser printers
the Java-based application platform MEAP Lite. Including the new products, 12
Satera series models will support MEAP Lite. Business for Canon Sales has
undergone a significant transformation recently. We have reinforced our role to
deliver the ideal solutions to resolve a variety of issues for each customer.

“With the arrival of MEAP, the copier MFP world has moved to a totally different
dimension,” he explained. “Printers now can handle such functionalities like
output management or various controls that had been done by the PC. We will be
aggressively proposing our support to resolve customers’ issues such as security
enhancement, operational efficiency improvement, TOC reduction, etc.

“While Canon has kept the No. 1 position in the total laser printer market in
Japan for the last ten years, we have fallen behind our rivals in color
printers,” Murase said. “With our new products, we are fully prepared to break
such a situation. With the leverage of the new products and the solutions
created by MEAP and MEAP Lite, Canon is aiming for No. 1 in color printers in

Domon emphasized the importance of Canon achieving the No. 1 color spot in

“Canon has set the No. 1 share for the key commodities as a highest
proposition,” he said. “It is an unconditional command from Mr. Murase to me to
make sure to win the No. 1 share for color in 2006. We have been increasing our
share for color MFPs very satisfactorily. We were able to achieve the record
sales in Japan in March.

“Seventy seven percent of color LBPs are A3 machines and four-drum tandem
methods account for 60 percent of it,” Domon continued. “The main thing for
office color is the A3 tandem machine. The new products will push this sweet
spot. Looking at LBPs working in the field, there are 2.5 million A3 monochrome
models and 620,000 A3 color models. With the new products equipped with speed,
print quality and size, we would like to change the 2.5 million units in the
field to color as soon as possible.”

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