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No. 365, February 2000

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Japanese Companies in the US


PHOTO EQUIPMENT AND COPIERS

Having already staked out a strong position in the American market for midrange and high- volume digital copiers, RICOH CO., LTD. intends to build on this momentum by setting up a Network Solution Center and introducing a new line of products. The Network Solution Center will provide technical support to Ricoh customers switching to networked copiers. It will be staffed by close to 100 people, roughly double the number who currently work in this field. At the same time, the company's West Caldwell, New Jersey marketing unit, which expects to phase out analog products by 2002, announced its flagship Aficio 850 digital imaging system — a 70- to 90-page-per-minute machine with network printing capabilities that also is targeted at the print-on-demand market. To be priced at less than $50,000, the system will be available in the spring.

Development of a digital camera that will allow users to upload images to the Internet without first transferring them to a PC is the goal of an alliance that CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD. forged with San Fran-cisco's ZING NETWORK, INC., which operates a free service at Zing.com to share, manage, store and print pictures on-line, and FOTONATION, INC., a Milbrae, California provider of digital photography software. In the first stage of the tie-up, owners of Casio digital cameras will be able to upload images through PCs to Zing's Web site using FotoNation's FotoDeveloper-Uploader technology. In phase two, consumers will be able to bypass their PCs using FotoNation's new FotoConnect modem and upload pictures to Zing.com. These steps are to lead to the launch of a Casio Internet camera with built-in "click-free" technology developed by FotoNation for direct uploads to Zing.com. The timing of the alliance's phase two and phase three was not disclosed.

An exchange rate of ¥105=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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