By Andy Slawetsky – Panasonic is closing its Business Communications Division, which includes the scanner and phone groups.

A source at Panasonic US has confirmed that, despite consistent YoY scanner growth in North America, Panasonic has lagged in other markets, forcing the Japanese manufacturer to make the difficult decision.

I hate to acknowledge other publications when they beat me to the punch, but I did see this first thing this morning in an email from Art Post.

I then heard from my contact at Panasonic who filled me in with some details, confirming the news.

Some History

Panasonic has been a brand in the imaging channel as long as I can remember. I saw them in the “Used Copier Report” my dad published in the ‘80s when I came in on weekends to run that monthly newsletter on some ancient Canon NP product. I literally worked for sandwiches.

In the ‘90s, I sold against them in the DC market; one of many brands that I faced off against that are now long-gone.

(Monroe, AB Dick, Nashuatec, Gestetner, Kodak, Pitney Bowes all come to mind. I didn’t say IBM. How old do you think I am???)

I tested their copiers and printers in the early 2000’s when we had a product testing facility in NJ and I’ve covered them as an analyst for over 20 years, attending their briefings and customer events for this publication.

Panasonic is an amazing company with a rich heritage. Their scanners are arguably the industry’s best, ranging from very basic desktop models to the highest-level production scanners.

They’re so good that other scanner manufacturers actually used them in their own product offerings. (Kodak offered some of these Panasonic production scanners with their digital presses, despite having their own scanner technology).

Panasonic had just celebrated the 25th anniversary of their scanner program in 2018. They had a nice run, but it’s now time for their dealer partners to start looking at alternative brands to replace Panasonic once the program winds down.

Panasonic will do this slowly and manufacturing will continue until 2022, with support and parts lasting until 2029.

Another great brand is leaving the imaging industry. Who’s next?

SOURCE Industry Analysts Inc.