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Leica Shifts to Digital Business Model

Leica Shifts to Digital Business, Leica Shifts to Digital Business Model

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*Cologne, Germany, September 26, 2006 – *Leica held a press conference at Photokina today, formally announcing that the German-based company, historically rooted in analog products, will transform its business model into a digitally-oriented design. Along with a review of recent product announcements, including the much anticipated M8 digital rangefinder and new lenses, Leica representatives expressed plans to expand its range of products and presence in international markets.

Leica representatives stated the manufacturer is in the first phases of a significant turnaround. "Leica is back on the track of success," stated Leica director of marketing Ralph Nebe. The manufacturer’s main goals are first, to deliver results to shareholders. On a broader consumer scale, Leica promises to fit the new strategy, matching it with the Leica tradition and consequentially, expand into more markets.

Consumers may have noticed the digital emphasis with Leica’s recent expanded product line. On September 15th, Leica came out of hibernation to announce a slew of four new cameras (the Leica M8, DigiLux 3, V-Lux 1, D-Lux 3) and two new lenses (Elmarit-M 28mm and Tri-Elmar-M 16-18-21mm). The new products are expected to be available in October.

With its expanding product line, Leica has also extended its cameras to foreign markets, signaled with this month’s advertising campaign, launched in the U.S., Germany, UK, France, Italy, and Japan, a country which Leica reports has responded particularly well. The ads include Leica’s strategy for branding and forming new customer groups for future generations, said Nebe.

Through its partnerships with other manufacturers, the company is paving the way for what Leica board member Steven Lee calls the "roadmap of corporate strategy and planning.' Leica has already partnered with sensor development companies Panasonic and more recently, a second project with Kodak on its M8 digital rangefinder. In addition, Leica has acquired Sinar, maker of higher end digital and analog equipment to aggressively attack the digital model.

Film fans need not worry about the shifting business paradigm. Leica briefly stated during the conference, "We may well launch analog products along with the digital ones in the future."

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