Correction: NOT WSJ but Yahoo Finance: Olympus one of 10 brands to disappear in 2014

Started May 26, 2013 | Discussions
Franka T.L.
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Re: A few thoughts
In reply to Sergey Borachev, May 27, 2013

humbly may I remark ... Sony do not invest in Olympus the brand nor just the imaging division, Sony the corp invest in Olympus the corp , initially aiming to facilitate the optical expertise of Olympus for its own imaging division, but can elaborate from there. So if Olympus the brand as an consumer imaging mfr goes, fails, it won't do Sony a single bit harm ... after all the imaging division among all within Olympus is the bad blood , a fact we all had to recognize.

To be honest, I am skeptical about the E-M6 being superlative and tough build, that is after the E-M5 which pales against the like of E-5 , but I am cautious optimistic about Olympus the brand. at least for the short term ... Japanese Corporate Culture at play basically.

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tgutgu
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Re: LOL, we are finally back on track with "Olympus will die" predictions
In reply to acahaya, May 27, 2013

acahaya wrote:

I was actually starting to miss them

The author failed to notice that Olympus does not only dabble in the digital camera market, so basically what he predicts is that the US won't get new endoscopy equipment starting 2014. He probably thinks that  5DMKIIIs and D800s will do the job as well ....

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We should not regard every article, dealing with Olympus' financial problems in such a category.

The article has some painful truth. It is wishfull thinking that Olympus can afford shrinking market share and camera sales for a longer while. Sooner or later the camera division needs to return to profit (if it ever had), otherwise there will be some consequences, which probably also will affect us. We are a bit overwelmed by the relative success of the E-M5, but one good seller alone cannot rescue the camera division.

DSLR sales increased a little in 2012, while mirrorless has reached a peak for the moment. It is hard to envision that this situation will change drastically. It tells that the desire for smaller cameras isn't as great as we believe, in some markets.

The good success of the E-M5 is probably also due to the fact that Olympus missed to provide alternatives for the PEN concept for about three years. Thus, many Olympus fans jumped on the E-M5, increasing sales over the original expectations. It is therefore hard to think, that cameras like the E-P5 and the E-M5 successor will have a similar sales success, which could make Olympus' situation worse.

We certainly don't want Olympus to die, but sometimes a realistic view on the situation is in order. The believe that small mirrorless camera systems is THE future has not manifested itself and there is no sign that it will do so in the midterm future. So, the outlook of Olympus' camera division is not bright.

The only thing WE can do, is buying Olympus products at prices that are reasonable to us and the company. Upgrade the camera bodies even if  the new feature list is not that convincing to us. Try to convince friends and fellows buying Olympus (I had one success!).

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Martin.au
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Re: LOL, we are finally back on track with "Olympus will die" predictions
In reply to tgutgu, May 27, 2013

Olympus m4/3 sales were up 15% year over  year and 25% over the last quarter. I doubt they'll be abandoning high end cameras just yet.

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KenBalbari
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Re: Correction: NOT WSJ but Yahoo Finance: Olympus one of 10 brands to disappear in 2014
In reply to teseg, May 27, 2013

teseg wrote:

Hopefully Olympus is about to launch a game changer, but I see it being nearly EM-5 quality at 75% the price vs. EM-5 + with enhanced capabilities at 125% of the price.  In other words they need to establish themselves as THE entry level brand above the phone segment, which also means taking out the Nikon 1 brand in particular, no small task.

They've mostly done that already, it's called the E-PL5.  I don't think you can do better right now in the entry-level enthusiast segment.   And I think it is likely profitable for them, their losses are likely coming on point and shoot.

Down the road,  I think they will continue to be competitive in that segment.  I think you are right that Nikon One seems to be the biggest long term threat, but I think they will need to introduce in-body stabilization to really be competitive in this segment, especially in the future as Olympus's superior IS filters down into lower end models.  In-lens stabilization may continue to make sense for higher end DSLR, but for this value conscious segment, I don't think it works.

Keep in mind, Sigma is likely going to be a player here on the lens side.  I think the killer combination right now for real value consious enthusiasts is already Olympus cameras with Sigma DN lenses.  I think that could continue to be the case.

I do think Olympus does need to do better with marketing and branding.  Nikon's "One" mount is so much better named than "Micro Four-Thirds".   Only a real geek wants to know what "Micro Four-Thirds" means.   Both "OM" and "Pen" are decent brands, but it would be nicer if they had a simpler banner under which to sell the whole system.  "Micro Four-Thirds" sounds more like a line of medical devices than cameras.

But in the end, I think there's a prettty wide space between small pocketable cameraphone sensors and full frame DSLR.  And I think Olympus will end up pretty well positioned in that space, for much longer than the next year.

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Eamon Hickey
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Olympus m4/3rds not yet profitable
In reply to KenBalbari, May 27, 2013

KenBalbari wrote:

They've mostly done that already, it's called the E-PL5.  I don't think you can do better right now in the entry-level enthusiast segment.

I reviewed the E-PL5 recently and think it's a very nice camera -- I have tentative plans to buy one later this year. (I also reviewed, and for the most part liked, the E-PM2.) That said, the entry-level ILC market is hotly contested, and marketing muscle (i.e. advertising spend, brand appeal, distribution, and much else) are big factors in that segment. I think Olympus has competitive vulnerabilities there, especially outside Japan, completely apart from the (high) quality of their cameras.

And I think it is likely profitable for them, their losses are likely coming on point and shoot.

On profitability, we don't have to guess about that, at least not for Olympus's m4/3rds lineup as a whole (can't be sure about the E-PL5 by itself). An Olympus executive, speaking at the company's recent presentation of its financial results for last fiscal year, said that the business was not profitable ("almost break-even"). (It's true that the point-and-shoot business was much worse.)

So they are planning on putting all their eggs in the m4/3rds business, but that business isn't making a profit yet either. They think it will, obviously, but their profit predictions for digital cameras have been notably bad in recent years. (Their losses this last year were much worse than they had forecasted after the previous fiscal year, which was also substantially loss-making.)

See my post here for details on the profitability quote, if you're interested:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/51492845

Down the road,  I think they will continue to be competitive in that segment.  I think you are right that Nikon One seems to be the biggest long term threat, but I think they will need to introduce in-body stabilization to really be competitive in this segment, especially in the future as Olympus's superior IS filters down into lower end models.  In-lens stabilization may continue to make sense for higher end DSLR, but for this value conscious segment, I don't think it works.

Keep in mind, Sigma is likely going to be a player here on the lens side.  I think the killer combination right now for real value consious enthusiasts is already Olympus cameras with Sigma DN lenses.  I think that could continue to be the case.

I do think Olympus does need to do better with marketing and branding.  Nikon's "One" mount is so much better named than "Micro Four-Thirds".   Only a real geek wants to know what "Micro Four-Thirds" means.   Both "OM" and "Pen" are decent brands, but it would be nicer if they had a simpler banner under which to sell the whole system.  "Micro Four-Thirds" sounds more like a line of medical devices than cameras.

But in the end, I think there's a prettty wide space between small pocketable cameraphone sensors and full frame DSLR.  And I think Olympus will end up pretty well positioned in that space, for much longer than the next year.

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dpreviewreader
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Re: Correction: NOT WSJ but Yahoo Finance: Olympus one of 10 brands to disappear in 2014
In reply to KenBalbari, May 27, 2013

KenBalbari wrote:

teseg wrote:

Hopefully Olympus is about to launch a game changer, but I see it being nearly EM-5 quality at 75% the price vs. EM-5 + with enhanced capabilities at 125% of the price.  In other words they need to establish themselves as THE entry level brand above the phone segment, which also means taking out the Nikon 1 brand in particular, no small task.

They've mostly done that already, it's called the E-PL5.  I don't think you can do better right now in the entry-level enthusiast segment.   And I think it is likely profitable for them, their losses are likely coming on point and shoot.

Down the road,  I think they will continue to be competitive in that segment.  I think you are right that Nikon One seems to be the biggest long term threat, but I think they will need to introduce in-body stabilization to really be competitive in this segment, especially in the future as Olympus's superior IS filters down into lower end models.  In-lens stabilization may continue to make sense for higher end DSLR, but for this value conscious segment, I don't think it works.

Keep in mind, Sigma is likely going to be a player here on the lens side.  I think the killer combination right now for real value consious enthusiasts is already Olympus cameras with Sigma DN lenses.  I think that could continue to be the case.

I do think Olympus does need to do better with marketing and branding.  Nikon's "One" mount is so much better named than "Micro Four-Thirds".   Only a real geek wants to know what "Micro Four-Thirds" means.   Both "OM" and "Pen" are decent brands, but it would be nicer if they had a simpler banner under which to sell the whole system.  "Micro Four-Thirds" sounds more like a line of medical devices than cameras.

I also think calling this category CSCs was a mistake in terms of branding. IMO the  category is now associated more with compacts than with DSLRs and not considered to be as capable as a DSLR. The common perception still is that if you want quality you need to get a DSLR. Panasonic calls its bodies DSLM on its web site, ostensibly to make it sound more like a DSLR and be perceived as such but I wonder if it is going to make much difference.

But in the end, I think there's a prettty wide space between small pocketable cameraphone sensors and full frame DSLR.  And I think Olympus will end up pretty well positioned in that space, for much longer than the next year.

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Marty4650
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The Olympus Brand will not disappear
In reply to dpreviewreader, May 27, 2013

The Imaging Division might have a new owner, but the brand "Olympus" will not disappear.

The brand name is simply too valuable, not matter what the profitability of the imaging division is today. Someone will want it, and the brand will live on. Brands like Vivitar and Polaroid still live, even though those companies are long gone.

I wouldn't even be shocked if Canon or Ricoh were to acquire the Olympus imaging division just for their M4/3 products, which are decidedly better than their own MILC efforts (EOS M and Q). I would include Panasonic in this, if they weren't struggling themselves, and Sony has their hands full with NEX.

The only really valuable products `the Olympus Imaging division has is their M4/3 cameras, and to a much lesser extent their Tough cameras and XZ high end compact cameras.

There will be a market for MILC cameras until someone can invent a smartphone that can equal their image quality. I just don't see people who wanted smaller and lighter high quality cameras moving back to DSLRs.

MILC isn't a mass market product but a niche market one that will continue to grow. It is really a subset of the "Interchangeable lens camera" market, and one that is difficult for smartphones to compete with.

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How about starting from page one!!!
In reply to dpreviewreader, May 27, 2013

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ten-brands-that-will-disappear-in-2014-181419498.html?page=1

Your post reeks of bias when you start your point missing the context.  Why would you do this op?

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dpreviewreader
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Re: How about starting from page one!!!
In reply to dpalugyay, May 27, 2013

dpalugyay wrote:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/ten-brands-that-will-disappear-in-2014-181419498.html?page=1

Your post reeks of bias when you start your point missing the context.  Why would you do this op?

Why would I do what? Link to the page with the relevant information instead of starting with JC Penny? My post did not express any opinion on the merits of the article so I cannot understand why that "reeks of bias". Take a chill pill and don't shoot the messenger.

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MichaelKJ
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Re: LOL, we are finally back on track with "Olympus will die" predictions
In reply to Martin.au, May 27, 2013

Mjankor wrote:

Olympus m4/3 sales were up 15% year over  year and 25% over the last quarter. I doubt they'll be abandoning high end cameras just yet.

Your claim is refuted by the interview with Olympus officials at the time of the release of their financial results for the fiscal year that ended March, 2013.

Q: For the March, 2013 period, what was the profitability of mirrorless camera?

A: Mirrorless cameras in total, 590,000 units, which was more or less constant from the year earlier. Looking into the substance of the composition of that, in Japan and in parts of emerging markets we were able to confirm growth. At the same time though in Europe and the United States, market as a whole expanded, and yet our results were down. From total perspectives it was almost break even. Maybe a little bit of shortfall. So, that was the result.

http://www.c-hotline.net/Viewer/Default/OLYM5d87987a66e557d8fa7f5e41719af874

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YouDidntDidYou
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Re: LOL, we are finally back on track with "Olympus will die" predictions
In reply to MichaelKJ, May 27, 2013

MichaelKJ wrote:

Mjankor wrote:

Olympus m4/3 sales were up 15% year over  year and 25% over the last quarter. I doubt they'll be abandoning high end cameras just yet.

Your claim is refuted by the interview with Olympus officials at the time of the release of their financial results for the fiscal year that ended March, 2013.

Q: For the March, 2013 period, what was the profitability of mirrorless camera?

A: Mirrorless cameras in total, 590,000 units, which was more or less constant from the year earlier. Looking into the substance of the composition of that, in Japan and in parts of emerging markets we were able to confirm growth. At the same time though in Europe and the United States, market as a whole expanded, and yet our results were down. From total perspectives it was almost break even. Maybe a little bit of shortfall. So, that was the result.

http://www.c-hotline.net/Viewer/Default/OLYM5d87987a66e557d8fa7f5e41719af874

Hardly refuted you are both correct!!!!

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tgutgu
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Re: The Olympus Brand will not disappear
In reply to Marty4650, May 27, 2013

Marty4650 wrote:

The Imaging Division might have a new owner, but the brand "Olympus" will not disappear.

The brand name is simply too valuable, not matter what the profitability of the imaging division is today. Someone will want it, and the brand will live on. Brands like Vivitar and Polaroid still live, even though those companies are long gone.

I wouldn't even be shocked if Canon or Ricoh were to acquire the Olympus imaging division just for their M4/3 products, which are decidedly better than their own MILC efforts (EOS M and Q). I would include Panasonic in this, if they weren't struggling themselves, and Sony has their hands full with NEX.

The only really valuable products `the Olympus Imaging division has is their M4/3 cameras, and to a much lesser extent their Tough cameras and XZ high end compact cameras.

There will be a market for MILC cameras until someone can invent a smartphone that can equal their image quality. I just don't see people who wanted smaller and lighter high quality cameras moving back to DSLRs.

MILC isn't a mass market product but a niche market one that will continue to grow. It is really a subset of the "Interchangeable lens camera" market, and one that is difficult for smartphones to compete with.

I would count on that. The brand name may survive, but there is no guarantee that you'll have the same portfolio and quality of products. There are several examples of valuable company names, which still exist, but are just labels for some superfluous products:

  • Rollei
  • Vivitar
  • Minox
Some brands, which we thought would never die, disappeared: And we don't know, what will happen to Kodak.
  • Contax
  • Yashica
  • Agfa
  • Konica
I think the reputation Olympus has nowadays, is overrated. If the aforementioned brand lost their role in the photography business, I see no reason that Olympus might have the same fate. Of course, nothing is sure. I hope that Olympus will survive and provide its customers - including me - a lot of great products. But we should stay realistic and not overly enthusiastic.
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Marty4650
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Here's the problem
In reply to peevee1, May 27, 2013

Sure Olympus could buy sensors from anyone... but Sony still makes the best ones.

And Sony is in a great position right now. They can make money selling their own SLTs and NEX cameras, or they can make money anytime someone buys a Nikon, Pentax or Olympus camera that requires an full frame, APSC or 4/3 sensor. Even Panasonic is using a Sony sensor in their new GH3.

It must really have hurt Panasonic... who make sensors themselves... to have to buy Sony sensors for their flagship GH3. You know they would have much preferred to use one of their own if it was up to the task.

I'm pretty sure that question came up at a Sony sensor division meeting....

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Tavi
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Check the source! NT
In reply to dpreviewreader, May 27, 2013

Sorry about the double post!

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Tavi
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Check the source!
In reply to dpreviewreader, May 27, 2013

The website that posted this had similar predictions before and very few actually happened. I would estimate their accuracy to be lower than the C-AF on my OM-D 

Cheers!

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Sergey Borachev
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Re: A few thoughts
In reply to Franka T.L., May 28, 2013

Franka T.L. wrote:

humbly may I remark ... Sony do not invest in Olympus the brand nor just the imaging division, Sony the corp invest in Olympus the corp , initially aiming to facilitate the optical expertise of Olympus for its own imaging division, but can elaborate from there. So if Olympus the brand as an consumer imaging mfr goes, fails, it won't do Sony a single bit harm ... after all the imaging division among all within Olympus is the bad blood , a fact we all had to recognize.

The really bad (in a commercial sense) blood is the E-series, the 4/3, and it is still there poisoning the whole body. It should have been cut off after the E-3.  Now, they are seeing the P&S business going bad.  The real deal is M43.  It has big potential in future and seems to be bearing fruit.  Not quite ripe, but I think any investor can see that potential.  If Sony was thinking of doing a Hoya, i.e. swallowing/selling the good bits (in Pentax) and spitting out or selling the bad and not interested in developing or revitalising the business, it would have already done something similar, or even required something like selling off or some splitting up as part of the rescue deal.  They didn't and I think their examination of Olympus' financials and viability was the reason. My opinion.

To be honest, I am skeptical about the E-M6 being superlative and tough build, that is after the E-M5 which pales against the like of E-5 , but I am cautious optimistic about Olympus the brand. at least for the short term ... Japanese Corporate Culture at play basically.

My comment about the E-M6 having to be really tough and reliable was a joke, i.e. it must last (if there will not be any more if Olympus should disappear as speculated).  I do not expect it to be any tougher than the E-M5.

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rrr_hhh
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Re: The Olympus Brand will not disappear
In reply to Marty4650, May 28, 2013

Marty4650 wrote:

The Imaging Division might have a new owner, but the brand "Olympus" will not disappear.

The brand name is simply too valuable, not matter what the profitability of the imaging division is today. Someone will want it, and the brand will live on. Brands like Vivitar and Polaroid still live, even though those companies are long gone.

well Olympus sells its scientinstead medical instruments under that name, so I can't see them selling that brand : it is not as if it was only limited to ther cameras. Once I visited a gastro-enterologist, I was surprised to find the exact same Olympus logo we have on the cameras boxes on his instruments.

I wouldn't even be shocked if Canon or Ricoh were to acquire the Olympus imaging division just for their M4/3 products, which are decidedly better than their own MILC efforts (EOS M and Q). I would include Panasonic in this, if they weren't struggling themselves, and Sony has their hands full with NEX.

I don't think it makes much sense. Before drawing any hasty conclusion, as to what Olympus will d with the photo divsion, we should first know whether there aren't any synergy between the medical optical instruments R&D and the photo gear R&D : may the that one is benefiting from the other.

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toporossa
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Re: yahoo should replace "olympus" by "yahoo" in the article...
In reply to Mr.NoFlash, May 28, 2013

True....

I almost forgot about the existence of yahoo unless a regular update for Vuze (a bittorrent client, for Mac OS in my case, formerly known as Azareus) manipulated my web browsers so that yahoo became the default search engine instead of Google in case you just put a word or phrase in the adress bar - and i didn't notice a hint during the update process that it will do so.

Taking customers for a ride is the main reason so many internet based companies descended and finally disappeared...

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