SAN FRANCISCOJapan's Canon Inc. plans to cut about 700 jobs from its lithography stepper division, according to various reports.
Most of the affected workers are located in Japan and at least some of them will be transferred to other sections within Canon, according to a Reutersreport. Citing the Nikkei business daily, the Reuters report said that 700 jobs is roughly 30 percent of the stepper division's workforce.
Canon the No. 3 maker of lithography steppers used in semiconductor manufacturing, slipped further behind ASML and Nikon last year, accounting for only 11 percent of the stepper market by revenue, according to Gartner Inc.
Gartner is predicting that 2009 will be a tough year for the stepper business, with overall stepper sales projected to decline 54 percent.
Canon does not expects its stepper division to be profitable until 2012, according to the Reuters report.