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Panasonic Confirms Exit From U.S. Cell Phone Market

A spokesperson confirms that the company stopped marketing phones in the U.S. at the end of 2004 and is putting its efforts into Asian and European markets.
A Panasonic spokesman Thursday confirmed reports that the company has quietly stopped developing and marketing phones in the U.S. market.

"We're emphasizing markets outside the U.S.," spokesman Jim Reilly said. "Japan, China and Europe is where the resources are being invested. That's where we expect growth and that's where engineering and other resources are being devoted."

Never a major force in the cell phone market in the U.S., the transition out of North America was gradual, Reilly noted. Its primary customer in the U.S., AT&T Wireless, stopped selling Panasonic phones at the end of 2003, he noted. The company then tried marketing phones over the Internet, but that effort stopped at the end of 2004, Reilly said.

While the company is putting no effort into selling its phones in the U.S., Reilly noted that the door to future involvement in North America has not been closed.

"The company, as far as the U.S. market goes, is studying it's options," Reilly said. "To say it's withdrawn is not technically correct."