Nikkei, Reuters claim Panasonic may quit European cellphones after its second bruising

Panasonic Eluga underwater

Once bitten, twice shy. Panasonic backed out of the European cellphone market in 2005 and gave it a second chance with its Eluga smartphone this spring, but both Nikkei and Reuters hear that the company is already considering its second withdrawal. A tough economy and a presently successful cost-cutting initiative (not to mention an uninspiring product, if we're honest) could have Panasonic exiting Europe before its fiscal year winds down at the end of March. Of the two as yet unconfirmed sources, Nikkei is going even further -- it believes that Panasonic is considering either a partnership to justify its Japanese business or else waving goodbye to cellphones altogether. Nothing's certain until Panasonic says so. If there's any truth to the story, though, we could see one more casualty in a rapidly thinning smartphone market.