Panasonic announced this week that they will begin to sunset their document scanner and unified communications businesses. Panasonic will continue to supply hardware until January 2023 and provide support for their products until 2029. The decision leaves only a few major scanner providers remaining: Brother, Canon, Epson, Fujitsu, Kodak, HP, and Visioneer/Xerox.
The move comes as something of a surprise. While Panasonic didn’t make up a big piece of the overall scanning market, they were doing a great job of growing their slice. Market research suggests that Panasonic experienced tremendous growth between 2018 and 2019, with placements rising by as much as one-third (Panasonic’s presence is most felt in the workgroup and low/mid-volume production segments). Likewise, Panasonic’s Business Communications business in EMEA was healthy. Despite good performances in those areas, Panasonic’s unified communications and scanner businesses did not fare well on a global scale.
In an email to partners announcing the news, Carlos Osuna, Head of Business Communications Business Unit at Panasonic explained that the business was “untenable and unpredictable.” Osuna also attributed the decision to competitive gaps related to manufacturing and R&D. Other factors like economic stressors related to COVID-19 and the rise of cloud-based solutions influenced Panasonic’s decision.