Canon will work with Oracle to integrate its business copiers and printers with the software giant's database and server products.

As a first step in the partnership, Canon subsidiary IT Solutions will sell a new platform that easily links products like Canon's imageRunner Advance copiers with Oracle's database, WebLogic and other offerings, the two companies said. The new platform will go on sale from January in Japan and in the first half of the year in the US and Europe.

Canon also makes steppers for mass producing integrated circuits and is a leading producer of high-end cameras, but has been viewed as weaker when it comes to software. Software and databases are becoming a crucial part of the business copier and printer industry, where documents are increasingly stored and processed digitally.

Canon said the tie-up will offer business solutions that include optical character recognition for saving documents and advanced features for combining and splitting PDF files.

In the future, the company said it will work with Oracle in developing middleware for its online storage service, and the two companies will also work together to further develop and refine the Java programming language.

Canon has long used Oracle's Java as the basis for a third party application development platform with its multi-function copiers, and the new joint development will extend that partnership, Canon spokesman Gota Fumoto said.