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Olympus closure is near, can happen in less than 8 months
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    It is total instability now in camera division, in various countries people are running and looking for new positions.

    Lot of rumors and talks that we can hear sudden closure press release within January-March time.

    Some talks are that development team and some equipment can be picked either by Sony or Samsung.

    Short QA for people new to PV

    Are you anti Olympus?

    Special for someone new to PV, PV had been largest m43 video oriented English discussion place not long ago. So very pro Olympus and Panasonic, yet we always had usual critique for Olympus not much focusing on video side. Actually we had been VERY pro Olympus during their financial scandal and attempt of takeover, with most sites who now claim themselves as Olympus protector being negative to company.

    Olympus always survived being not profitable before, so it is not all important..

    It is big logic flaw to use such extrapolation, make sure to read fundamental reasons further below explaining that became different.
    Also state of camera market is much worse now and big Panasonic marketing support that helped overall m43 niche is now all going into their FF lineup.

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  • 28 Replies sorted by
  • hahaha - sorry. What an olympus bashing. Nobody trusts you anymore when you say something about Olympus. Every camera and lens you say: this is the last one. They close the camera department...

    and they exist and exist and exist - and new cameras are release and lenses ....

    You should have a look at the much better informed 43rumors: "This is 100% NOT TRUE: Every single Olympus source I have (from EU to US to Japan) laughed at this “news”." https://www.43rumors.com/fake-rumors-olympus-will-not-quit-the-camera-business-within-8-months/

  • @Vaterfreuden

    Nobody trusts you anymore when you say something about Olympus. Every camera and lens you say: this is the last one. They close the camera department...

    Do not talk for everyone else, talk for yourself :-)

    and they exist and exist and exist - and new cameras are release and lenses ....

    Do you want some sedative due to this?

    P.S. 43rumors posted this thing because they are fighting with Photorumors and both claim opposite things :-). And it is nice clickbait for them both.

  • Hello Vitaliy!

    What is the intention to post such untenable bulls***? Are you aware, that spreading such incorrect information can REALLY cause problems to the concerned companies?

    You complain about "clickbaiting" of other websites... you should ask yourself, who started it (and don't tell me, that this was NOT your primary intention ;) )

  • @patrick82

    I just post that I hear. Do I care about any your imaginable damage to capitalist corporation that live happily and has camera department as money waste machine for many years, while getting big profits on medical equipment? No, I don't . But I like their engineers and talked to some of their ex engineers.

    If you don't like posts - don't read them. Fine some nice warm masturbation place telling you how all will be fine with Olympus.

  • perhaps you should read the official strategy:

    "To achieve an operating profit margin of 20% or above at the fiscal year 2023 March, Olympus introduced four core elements:

    Focus the corporate portfolio centering on Medical, the company’s key contributor to revenue and profit with the greatest market growth potential. The Imaging and Scientific Solutions divisions remain crucial components to the overall Olympus business, and will strive to improve profitability and operational efficiency. "

    source: https://www.olympus-global.com/news/2019/nr01439.html

    by the way: imaging business is <10% of Olympus.

  • @Vaterfreuden

    I know all this, save your time.

  • It's amazing when m43 rumours makes a rumour about a rumour not being a rumour with 100% NOT FAKE warranty.

  • @EspenB

    You'll see even more fun things as cameras sales will slump more.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev What's your best guess on camera companies that will still be around in 10 years?

  • @CrazyPete

    Too long time frame :-)

    All Japanese large business structures are made for infinite growth and they all do not know that to do during hard time, competition or contraction, it had been visible in all industries before (like TVs and smartphones before cameras).

    If not hard barriers we already must see only 2-3 camera manufacturers, and 2 mounts on the market.

    And second one will be sometimes supported by investors and governments, ala AMD had been.

  • So, let's set things clear of Olympus fanboys bullshit who hear that they like to hear only

    What is wrong with Olympus and any other camera manufacturer with low and falling sales:

    image

    Camera LSI is extremely complex thing, and it is reason why many camera companies have trouble reaching even level of old Samsung NX1/NX500 LSI.

    To move forward camera industry now need to design and manufacture very big and complex LSI with lot of DSP capabilities, 8-16 cores general ARM CPUs, some specific GPU cores and big AI parts. I mean to make chip that is MORE complex than smartphone top processors.

    Yet management of all Japanese companies had been basically clueless about deep technology challenges and economics of scale. They cared about short term goals and their income/bonuses.

    This guys first just gave up on compacts deciding that it won't hurt and they can just hike margins on remaining cameras. They also tried to keep inflated personnel counts after this happened, Japanese traditions.

    Yet, as soon as compacts sales plummeted they lost up to 70% of funds that had been used to finance LSI and firmware/software development. Take Panasonic, in the GH1-GH3 time they used same LSI across most cameras released within given timeframe. Memory, flash and frequency of chip varied, but chip itself had been same. Now they lost around 60% of income and this number keep shrinking in full opposite to exponentially rising costs.,

    After this management in most companies started to cut their own sensors manufacturing and almost all companies started to use Sony sensors (frequently specially customized, of course). This resulted in situation where Sony, who is not much interested in putting best sensors developers on falling market with small profits, started to define most of the features. Sony also made sure to kill Samsung large sensors and camera LSI group and lines by making secret cartel agreement with Samsung and passing to them lot of their knowledge and sharing many smartphones sensor designs.

    Now Sony are not big fans of making m43 sensors in low volumes. I mean here less engineers and much less help you can get if you try to use or even customize any given sensors, prices are also slowly rising. m43 sensors volume is dropping quite fast. Cutting them total in mid term can be quite good for Sony.

    While Panasonic management talk everywhere about m43 and on how they love it, it is obvious to see marketing instructions changes, promotions cuts, etc.

    Most probably, Panasonic will be able to use other part of their business to make suitable LSI and will be able to save funds, but only by not moving to 7nm and up. It will just delay inevitable end.

    But with Olympus it is different. All their camera division can do now is reshuffle last good LSI they have, as anything more complex is financially not viable and possible. It can be all see very good on their cameras capabilities and features. They can still add some new modules, but they no way can move to more fine and much more expensive process, not without big money injection that all investors oppose (as it won't bring much for profitable divisions). Management and Japanese part of marketing, as well as various feeding ambassadors keep dreaming hoping for some magical solution and using stupid extrapolation logic (aka we survived until this moment despite horrible decisions and we will survive at least same amount of time making same quality decisions).

    Pentax is even worse, as it is lacking any progress. Ricoh is fine with their ill division until old lovers of DSLRs are ok to buy their quite nicely designed and ergonomically fit products, but they just can't make proper good LSI's for them (as far as I remember last one they got from Fujifilm or such).

    To survive most Japanese brands need to quickly merge and kill 80% of existing mounts, develop standard camera OS with standard UI and main features(may be to two :-), keep competition). It is just fundamental requirement that happened in all industries, and especially in ones that rely on constantly rising complexity of their products. otherwise they will ALL be extinct, as upcoming economic downturn can put to grave even prospering Sony where top management are wasting resources and best people on terminally ill smartphone division (that they even merged such way to try not to show its separate horrible performance).


    PV has nice topics on semiconductors like https://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/15422/semicinductors-industry-has-serious-issues-stop-will-follow/p4

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  • Vitaliy,

    Despite of your smart market analysis, IMHO Olympus should close wuld be a disgrace for their users and for what the brand represents for the history of photography.

    Moreover i don't see anything to be happy given that their market share, their products, their employees will not be picked by a new startup made of young gentleman of expectations but, as you write, will "be picked either by Sony or Samsung". Two companies that behave the same or worst of Olympus. Everything you dislike.

    Hence, cui prodest?

    Do you theorize a future without photography?

    But besides the news being true or not, I do not understand what do you want to achieve with these Armageddon posts on camera industry. Reading your posts, I'm under impression that you are not an objective reporter but rather hoping that everything fall apart. As you, I'm not native speaker, I'm Italian. I think you don't master the English language (like me). So maybe it's just a language problem.

    I'm a long time reader and grateful hack user since GF1 times, so please don't be a hater. Try to be as neutral as possible and then we will see what will happen.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girolamo_Savonarola

    Bye

  • @LongJohnSilver

    OK, need more explanation I guess.

    First, I am not hater, I am materialist. Can just look for very interesting Digital Bolex story where I had been declared hater because I made analysis on who actually makes camera design and testing and so on. Contrary to all other shitty online press who just published things close to press release/announcement (as actually lot of top bloggers do it all the time, they are interested only in pushing new products get sample and quickly sell it, ala 2nd marketing department). I even managed to very accurately predict all issues and release delay.

    Second. As I am materialist I am looking at real hurdles, real things. Not about all this fan idealistic bullshit "but Olympus management told". Olympus or any other management always tell you things that is profitable for them and that they are allowed to tell you. Right before the moment of drastic announcements and changes. Development hurdles and limits won't change because Olympus management tell you something, they all remain and are pretty real.

    Third. If you will do some research you will notice that my "Armageddon posts" :-) started way way back (in the form of quite warm warnings, and at the time all this "Olympus will live" big sites told you how nice and perfect all will be ahead), right at the peak of camera industry sales. And they had been about all bad things that happened with industry further. But you should not call someone "Armageddon lover" if he tells you, while you are driving, that it is big tree ahead and you must drop speed and turn right.

    Forth. Right from 2011, and first posts I told that camera industry won't be good without mounts reduction (we see opposite things being done by managers), standard and open interface and protocol of lens mount (same shit, companies invested big money inventing new and more protected things), standard OSes with proper apps support and so on. And lot of mergers or closings. Yes, it is not in Japanese traditions, but life does not care about them. So now it won't be nice and smooth as it could be in 2012-2014, it is be lot of tears and pain, may be even lot of new financial revelations that had been hidden under table for many years by many camera companies .

  • Same shit

    “Sina Finance news” asked Olympus about the possibility of their camera business shutdown.

    The official answer (note: google translated):

    “The image business has always been the driving force of technology, including imaging technology and mass production technology, for medical and science field has made tremendous contributions. As stated in the new business strategy, since the imaging business and the scientific business are important businesses supporting the company, we will continue to work on the improvement of profitability and efficiency in these two business areas.”

    Of course they will have lot of people stay to work on medical equipment sensors and such.

    But even with medical department issues will rise fast, as Olympus will need to join forces or use more third party parts.

  • Unexpectedly, Vitaliy and Personal-View appear. Around 10:39. If this were Wikipedia I would cite this video as proof of Vitaliy's rumor since it's a second source confirming it, even though it is based on same post. :P

  • Regardless of whether VK is right or wrong, I think it is likely Olympus has at least 2 rabbits to pull out of the bag before going one way or the other. Olympics is the best chance for all camera companies to grab some former glory/sales, and they know it. Many duds in the guise of "Best camera ever" that were released this last year were actually well positioned duds to wet the appetite of professionals and duds alike with money. More simply put we are in a camera desert, and regardless of economics, all companies with any means of pumping out something worth a dam will be doing so in early 2020. Olympus was the only company that released a camera that was a complete non half ass creation in 2019. Maybe it was a last ditch effort to have something worthy of bringing to the games after their demise, or maybe it was a bit of foresight other companies seem to lack. More simply put, they released a truly pro camera that has been capturing sports by true professionals with extraordinary stabilization/speed for the last year, and can use that to properly honestly promote a point and shoot and something else leading into the games. I am not a fanboy of anything. I use Panasonic, but am ready to jump ship because F PAID FIRMWARE UPGRADES! I just think one way or another Olympus is likely to stick around through the olympics on the camera side of things.. too much history and expectations...

  • Ricoh (...) just can't make proper good LSI's for them [= Pentax] (as far as I remember last one they got from Fujifilm or such).

    Ricoh Imaging 'Prime' image processing engines, as well as Leica 'Maestro', Nikon 'Expeed' and Sigma 'True' engines, are Socionext Milbeaut image processors.

    Socionext is a SoC company formed in 2015 from the LSI businesses of Fujitsu Semiconductor (not Fujifilm) and Panasonic.

  • @Mistral75

    You are fully right. I wrote this thing fast, as actually I made disassembly of few Pentax firmwares.

    I am not sure if latest Nikon LSIs come from them also.

    Pentax LSIs are still using Fujitsu RISC command set as I know, Panasonic LSIs are totally different.

    Socionext looks like quite bad attempt of some merging (as progress in LSIs never returned to previous), similar to Japan Display Inc (that is being constantly saved and no one know if it'll survives even next year).

    From Panasonic side sensors and LSI cutting and mergers was not much consumer/product oriented move, but attempt of top management to get short term bonuses.

  • Olympus Corp. is considering job cuts as the medical device and camera maker pushes forward with plans to almost double operating margin in the medium term, Chief Executive Officer Yasuo Takeuchi said.

    “The issue of personnel will naturally need to be addressed,” Takeuchi, who was promoted from chief financial officer in April, told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday. “It’s a strategy to improve performance, and something that will come about in due course.”

    Takeuchi also backtracked on some of his comments in the past that the camera business was not for sale, saying that may not be the case anymore. The imaging unit, which makes up 6% of sales, is the lowest margin and lowest growth businesses in Olympus’s portfolio, according to past company presentations. Olympus is working to stabilize the imaging business by focusing on its main markets, a spokeswoman said.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-19/olympus-job-cuts-may-come-as-push-into-medical-tech-intensifies

    CEO is also big part of people decisions to left Olympus, as he is last guy who could help imaging division to survive.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    M43rumors: "there is no valid evidence for the “rumor”".

  • Olympus consumer imaging official future:

    He said, “The OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a new starting line. Starting from this, I would like to work on development with the enthusiasm of releasing 2 bodies and 3 lenses every year.”

    https://news.mapcamera.com/maptimes.php?itemid=32729

  • I would like to work on development with the enthusiasm of releasing 2 bodies and 3 lenses every year.

    I am sure it will save Olympus :-) One will be new pink variation of E-PL10 and another rehash of some retro style mirrorless camera with price above $2000. Online sales only, Japan only.

    But it is very improbably case, of course management is dreaming about it. But reality will hit them hard in the face.

  • https://photofocus.com/news/olympus-addresses-rumors-of-sale/

    "After reading both the Bloomberg article as well as Olympus’ statement, it’s pretty clear that Olympus is in this for the long haul. "

  • Here is the quote from the Olympus statement regarding their Imaging business.

    “For Imaging, however, we currently have no plans to sell the business. The task is therefore to stabilize and strengthen its market position. To achieve that, we are actively running marketing activities, and have already established a clear and exciting product roadmap for the coming months and years. We are actively pursuing future technology developments that will enhance photography and video for creators. Furthermore, Imaging is and will continue to be an important technology and innovation driver for our other businesses."