March 14, 1997 1:45 PM ET
From the mind of Minolta: printers
By Scott Berinato

  Minolta Corp. announced today it will enter the laser printer market with a line of Minolta-branded printers ranging from the desktop to the workgroup.

The company, known primarily as a copier and camera supplier, currently makes laser printer engines for Epson America Inc. and Lexmark International Inc., as well as a German company, Mannesmann Tally.

To spearhead the effort, Minolta announced the formation of the Peripheral Products Division. The first devices emerging from the new group are due in the second quarter, officials of the Mahwah, N.J., company said. The full line is expected to include both color and monochrome devices.

The printer companies recently began efforts to take chunks of sales from the copier market with printers that make multiple original prints ("mopies"). Now the copier companies, including Xerox Corp., Minolta, Konica and Canon USA Inc., have begun efforts to use their print engines with their own brand names.

"They were successful selling the engines," said Ken Weilerstein, analyst at DataPro Information Services, a McGraw-Hill company in Delran, N.J. "Now they're reacting to the mopy trend and moving beyond just selling engines and into the market themselves."

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