Agfa is withdrawing from the consumer-scanner market.

The company is discontinuing production and development of its entire consumer-scanner range, including the SnapScan and DuoScan product families. Some scanners will remain in channel until sold.

Agfa told Macworld this morning that it would honour outstanding 12-month warranties, and continue to provide a repairs service for these products for the next five years, as required under UK law.

Agfa refused to make a statement. It is widely believed that the company could not create a profitable business in the consumer-scanner market, due to intense competition and a savage price-war. Industry watchers say Agfa can not match consumer expectations on price while delivering the standard the company wishes to maintain. The decision affects consumer scanners in both the Mac and PC markets.

Agfa's decision could also reflect the softening of the broader consumer-PC market. Last week, Gartner Dataquest released figures showing that European PC sales had declined by 4 per cent during the second quarter 2001 - the first recorded decline in sales in the sector. UK sales dropped by 7.3 per cent.