Saturday, November 22, 2008

Toshiba Buys AVIS (but won't be renting cars)

From comes news of an interesting acquisition: Toshiba Medical Systems has agreed to purchase Barco's Advanced Visualization Imaging System (AVIS), which used to be Voxar, Ltd.
The acquisition, to be handled via Toshiba's newly formed wholly owned subsidiary Toshiba Medical Visualization Systems (TMVS) Europe, allows for internal development of 3D volume rendering and advanced visualization capabilities for all Toshiba modalities, according to the Tokyo-based vendor. TMVS will be based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Phew. I thought my friends at Voxar were going to have to move to Tokyo and learn to say "haggis" in Japanese. Toshiba promises "to honor all contractual obligations" and provide necessary support for current customers. But...

"The company also will evaluate all aspects of the AVIS business over the next 12 months," the spokesperson said.

TMVS also expects longtime advanced visualization collaborator Vital Images to remain a key partner, according to the spokesperson. "Toshiba will continue development with Vital Images on clinical applications and, in fact, just signed a five-year distribution agreement with the company," she said.

Toshiaki Nakazato, chief specialist at Toshiba Medical's Research and Development Center, has been named president of TMVS, while former AVIS marketing director Calum Cunningham has been tapped as senior vice president and general manager.

Nothing like owning one company and fronting for another. We have to wonder which product Toshiba will push harder, the Voxar that they own or the Vital that they distribute. I get the feeling that Voxar won't be sold as an add on (in the manner we use it with Agfa Impax) in the future, unless you buy a Toshiba scanner.

I suppose this all makes sense for Toshiba, as they are continually announing higher and higher slice-counts for their CT's. I was going to do an April Fool's piece on a fictional 10,000 slice scanner, but no doubt that will be available by next year anyway. Since one cannot actually read a 10,000 slice scan in one day, programs like Voxar 3D are a stict necessity.
Barco, meanwhile, will concentrate on medical displays, which they do quite well.

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