Apple and Olympus: an analogy

Started Nov 20, 2006 | Discussions thread
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BubbaE1
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Apple and Olympus: an analogy
Nov 20, 2006

So I was laying in bed last night and a thought occurred to me: Apple and Olympus seem to be two companies whose increasing successes seem to be paralleling each other. Why does this matter? It probably won't to many people. For me, however, I think it creates an interesting analogy.

How many people thought Apple would never survive into the 21st century? How many people thought Olympus would be a player, a seeminly more important player as months go on, in an ever-competitive DSLR market? I think few hands would have been raised in response to either of these questions.

So Apple introduces the first personal computer and what a revultion that was. Olympus can take pride in their OM system, which people still rave about. I know little about these respective eras because I wasn't alive to experience either, but I know enough about both companys' histories to know what contributions they made to the technological world. Sooner or later, the Apple computer was outdated and surpassed by other manufacturers and the same fate awaited Olympus.

Looking at these companies today, one has to be impressed with their comebacks. It seems like forever ago when Apple introduced their iPod...few products in history have had such an impact on the mass of consumers. With their switch to Intel, Apple has seen their share in the personal computing market increase two-fold, and this will no doubt continue to grow. When Olympus introduced their 4/3 rds system, the naysayers didn't waste time claiming Olympus' demise and ruin as a legitimate photography tool. And look where 4/3 rds stands today.

Why the success after so many years? I think they are examples of companies who have maintained their commitment to making great products, being innovators, and staying loyal to their customer base. That may be a naive and simple explanation, but I think these reasons are valid.

I look at the computer world and see no difference between Toshiba, Acer, HP, Dell, Sony, Compaq, and whatever company is making Windows based computers. I mean, what is the difference? Yeah, the aesthetics are different, and the company-specific perks applied to each system are different, but when they are all booted up, only one operating system runs, and Windows is not an OS people are bragging about. Then you look at Apple. Apple has consistently provided an OS that performs, on a whole, much better than Windows does, and offers its users a much broader base of Apple software that is intuitive and user-friendly...and it works.

Take a look at the photography world. It's almost impossible to mention photography without mentioning Canon and Nikon. Pentax and now Sony are following in their footsteps. I really don't see what distinguishes each brand from the other. I'm so sick of hearing about APS-C sized sensors and how "full-frame" is the future of DSLRs and how much better their results are. Does anyone else realize what Canon is doing? Canon pisses me off because the only camera that in my opinion is worth buying is the EOS 1Ds Mark II n, but it's $3500 without a lens. Canon is ingenious for doing this. They know that only pros and rich people will buy this camera, a camera with features (build quality, amongst other things) that all cameras should have, so they come out with the 30D, which finally has spot metering, a decent build, but a 1.6 crop factor. At this magnification rate, I think it's pointless to buy any "L" designated lens, which is what Canon prides themselves on. Their marketing strategy and their willingness to screw over their consumers who are not rich pros makes me sick.

I could go on about the other manufacturers, but I am rambling at this point. So what is my point? I'm thankful that I have invested my money into a company that dares to be different...not just to be different, but because they aren't OK without following everybody else. They don't want to be like the Toshibas, and the Dells, and the HPs. I'm thankful that I have invested my money into a company who seems commited to its customers and who is OK with bringing out new technology when they have it figured out, not because they have to stay caught up with the big boys. I'm thankful that I have invested my money into a company that makes products that make sense, that seem to be genuine photographic tools. I'm thankful that Olympus is going against the flow and that they are backing their products 100% of the way.

Take this post for what it's worth, which may be nothing at all. It takes companies like Apple and Olympus to show us consumers who the real innovators and leaders are.
--
Justin
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinger

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