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Olympus Imaging Business To Be Sold To JIP Inc
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  • @kurth

    It is very important to add that to stay alive top smartphones manufacturers need exponential price growth. As new chips are financed exactly by buyers of this devices and here price grows exponentially.

    2nm design and initial big batch production will be from 10 to 25 times more expensive than same size 14nm one.

    If not Samsung-Sony sensors cartel and if chip production and design cost had been same as before Olympus could live happily (slowly bleeding money anyway :-) ). As well as cameras sales drop will be much much lower.

  • @Vitaliy....phones are on a completely different plane than cameras. Their utilitarian value to the common person can't be easily forgotten, nor neglected. But obviously that doesn't mean that phones won't be radically affected as well. Like everything else, there's way too many phone models and companies. Probably what will happen to phones is all of them will be produced in china, where workers are more easily placed into stricter production environments. So huawei will win in the end.

  • @kurth

    Number of companies is dropping dramatically (most of them are actually virtual brands already).

    Huwei is in huge trouble, and can become maker of third rate MTK based smartphones within 6 months. September is cutoff date from almost all important chips they need.

    And remember - all things will change as soon as we'll hit the wall in silicon production. Same horror will happen with software companies, as suddenly you won't need hundreds of thousands of low level developers, as their level can't be compensated by hardware anymore.

  • @Vitaliy.....o yeah....of course....we won't need developers anymore. We won't have new developments anymore. Be satisfied where things are for at least the next decade, and maybe the next two, or three. By december this should all be clearer. And next we can rid ourselves of 99% of digital content. Maybe a good solar storm would clean house. I've got 8tb's of drives inside a lead box just in case !

  • That ambassador at "This Week in PHOTO" did not even read the press release it seems.


    Mostly what I have heard is about JIP being the worst sort of company for Olympus consumers and those invested in the mount for the long term. JIP isn’t about tweaking firmware, or arranging a new sensor design with a Sony, or promoting NewCo products through Visionaries. JIP specializes in stripping assets from a company. They have no physical plants, in-house engineers, research or even marketing. This is based on what they’ve done with other company assets they’ve acquired. JIP is not interested in running an optical photography brand. This isn’t like Sony taking over Minolta, or Ricoh Pentax. This is the end of the bulk of Micro Four Thirds.

    Speculative talk here is that Panasonic isn’t really investing in the mount anymore as well. They won’t push a new sensor and there is no evidence Olympus offered them the Imaging unit. All the talk is that this is the dissolution of Micro Four Thirds because a company like JIP hasn’t the resources and isn’t the type of company that cares about the underlying tech and the mount as a major consumer alternative. In a shrinking market you would think that the 2 main players would consolidate, but when you see a JIP in the equation, it undermines the whole case for the lens mount. JIP is a dead end.

    I’ve heard nothing about Olympus shopping the unit elsewhere. What I have heard about is the loss of talent leading to a loss of production and that this has been going on for half a year and if it continues, there will not be much left to continue the Micro Four Thirds effort. No one has faith that Panasonic has enough market to support the mount for longer than a year or two if Olympus craters. There’s just too few customers. The press releases mention nothing about a commitment to the Micro Four Thirds consortium. This is all about Olympus having severe financial issues with this unit and sales falling unsustainably. Once they fall to zero after this news, Micro Four Thirds loses all its buying power and most of its customers. My photo club friends believe this is likely the end of Micro Four Thirds. It may stagger on for a few years, but JIP is definitely not the company to bring any commitment. That’s not what they do. It’s quite sad in photo circles because Micro Four Thirds is popular. People do grumble about its pricing, though, compared to larger sensors. Compactness may be a virtue here, but value is still critical. There is no doubt that sales in the red in Japan for Olympus has a lot to do with larger sensor formats falling in price and Micro Four Thirds being too costly. Walk into any camera store here and that’s the discussion over the counter.


    Micro 43 is dominated by Olympus and their volume buying sustained the format. Many would leave for larger sensors if the mount was unsupported. Even with Panasonic, it’s mostly a side product in the video offerings. It’s likely that sensor tech won’t advance and along with that, no new Panasonic development. That’s pretty much a dead format because no one will buy new bodies if the the competition sensors are way, way ahead. Panasonic went FF because that’s where the money went. The longer term fate of the 43 sensor is tied to Olympus.


    It’s on employment and DoCoMo message boards for engineers, some of whom I work with. I am sure most is speculation, but posts going back months are about engineers leaving and not being replaced. They are production oversight. When they leave, the product lines are stopping. At least one is permanently back from Vietnam. That is lens assembly. Apparently the optics are made in Japan, but not getting to Vietnam as HQ isn’t willing to bleed money. Covid is cover for a lot of this. Like with the Fukushima quake, everything is just stopping. With Olympus apparently it really is stopping.

    Photography is a huge pastime in Japan, up there with gardening and fishing. Second only to food appreciation. Everyone knows the brands and pretty much every household has a camera or two in addition to smartphones. People don’t really follow stocks so much as corporate culture and practices. Olympus has a rep for being technically excellent, but with corrupt managers and “good old boys” who undermine hardworking employees. It’s a top tier employer with a global brand, so it is watched by many. The culture is often opaque, but when people eventually open up, they are usually precise. It’s very trial and error, so there is a lot of discussion about how and why things go wrong. Retrospective and introspective and thorough.

    Micro 43 is very popular here. Full frame not so much as the lenses are simply too big. Compactness is a virtue. Being bulky and heavy is frowned on. Olympus is heavily criticized for their 1.2 primes, but loved for the telephoto lenses because they are much smaller. There is much less discussion about overall IQ because most photos are now shared online. 1” sensors are popular, too. The culture is more appreciative of a subtle, small approach. Lugging an RP with the 24-70/2 around would be seen as overdoing it. Japan is an export culture, though. So if Americans obsess with IQ overkill and that sets part of the market, then that’s a (crop) factor.

    If JIP is transitioning Olympus to new ownership, then they will focus (sic) on Asia only where the whole FF vs smaller formats debate is almost non-existent. It’s kind of like toilets where the Japanese make a vastly superior product but the non-Asian West lacks innovation common sense in favor of a single attribute, like size or price. Getting rid of the American market is often seen as good because it’s becoming less and less important. But the Asian and especially Chinese markets are difficult for obvious reasons. All I can say after extensive beer and sake talks with photo club members over the last day is that JIP isn’t in photography as a primary manufacturer. They are either there to part out Olympus or prep it for sale to a conglomerate entity. There is some sense that this is a shot across Pansonic’s bow. 43 might only be able to support a single supplier, but Panasonic alone would have to drop the smaller sensor. Micro 43 has been dependent on Olympus for survival. On that everyone agrees. If Olympus falls out completely, then the format is likely dead. The value in Olympus is likely in its optics. IBIS and other tech has been incorporated elsewhere. Going to JIP means that a lot of the on-house tech simply isn’t ahead anymore.

    11 hour work days followed by 7 hours eating and drinking, 2 hours of commuting and sleep in between.


    [About source:]Engineers and accountants in my company and photo club. One regular knows a bit about JIP and their practices. They don’t have hard assets. They are a small, private executive team who manage distressed product lines. The last few they did were in aviation and all were parted out. Companies pay JIP up front to shed losing departments to avoid regulatory concerns and to get the losses off book. They don’t pay JIP to own factories or R&D or overseas sales teams. Likely Olympus will release another lens due to momentum and regulatory filings, but as with a lot of JIP business, only in Japan or Asia.

  • New 2020 JIP/Olympus product...should sell like noodles :)


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  • Total operating loss for Olympus m43 is 105,149 million yen. (This does not include the april-may-june period this year which is believed to be even worse than previous quarters.)

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  • So, the question arises:

    Will we soon see a statement from Panasonic where they express how commited they are to m43?

  • @EspenB

    They already made such, few times.

  • Actually, if they were smart, this could be their big opportunity. but obviously they aren't...hence the g100.

  • The most valuable products from the imaging portofolio seems to be binoculars, audio recorders and dictation devices?

  • Still in denial.


    Olympus June 2012 Management Plan.

    Claims: 149b yen (FY end 2013), 160b yen (FY end 2014), 170b yen (FY end 2015). 180% increase mirrorless unit volume by 2017. 70% increase high-end compact unit volume by 2017. Unit volume of 7.5m total in 2017. "Strive to achieve profitability in FY end 2013."

    Last part busted! Didn't achieve profitability in FY just ended. Double busted! Didn’t meet FY2014 claims. Triple Busted! Not meeting 2017 goals.

  • @EspenB

    2012 had been year I first said that Panasonic and Olympus management are going the wrong way.
    yet all the leading "experts" told overwise, they actually told that each of m42 owners dreamd about $3000 FF camera.


    Statement by the Jury

    The technically sophisticated OLYMPUS OM-D E-M1X performs convincingly with its robust construction and intelligent product features.

    Red Dot Design Award

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  • So this Oly 150 - 400 lens was suposed to be available before the Olympics. Now is winter 2020. And they also announces developement of two more lenses. At the same time Oly will restructure to shave off costs before the final agreement with JIP in september. Are we taking about vapourware here?

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  • Probabably are developments already started in the past. But as Nikon DLs proved, development announcment is not a release.

  • @EspenB

    As I understand last PR it was requested by legal team, as otherwise people could sue Olympus claiming that they knew things in advance and used lenses promises to spread misinformation (of course they also spread false directly, but they made it very careful wording if you rewind and look).

  • image

    Nice Japanese humour.

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