Panasonic benefits from cross-fertilization too Locked

Started Oct 1, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Chris Noble
Chris Noble Veteran Member • Posts: 3,877
The truth is less flattering to Olympus

Henry Richardson wrote:

I have read here on the forum several times about how Olympus is supposed to have this wonderful synergy between their medical instruments and photographic divisions. A lot of cross-fertilization occurs so that both benefit.

I have a lot of respect for Olympus. They have an impressive history in cameras and have survived as a niche player for a long time; but those synergy arguments are made by anxious Olympus fan boys grasping at straws... The truth is that Olympus is a small, struggling company, still recovering from management scandals that nearly put them out of business, in two product lines that all the investment analysts believe have zero synergies, and which Olympus management itself admits don't fit together. At least Olympus has #1 market-share in endoscopes, which is the only reason the company is still alive. Otherwise they'd be down the (pick-your-brand) toilet. By the way, all of the investment speculation about who is going to buy Olympus centers on companies interested in the endoscope business; the assumption is that once someone acquires that, the camera business will be sold off opportunistically, but without much financial contribution.

Small camera companies (and the Olympus camera division is small) are being bought out at a rapid rate by big ones (and the Panasonic camera division is big). Panasonic is hoping that Olympus hangs in there, and has no interest in acquiring them, because it suits them to have a m43 "competitor", but you can see from the respective number and variety of recent product introductions by both companies that Olympus's decline in the camera market continues.

Panasonic is so big in so many actually-related consumer markets (electronics, still and video optics, batteries, displays, sensors and other semiconductors) that just the brand presence in all these markets helps their various product lines. And, to come back to m43, their product intros keep on broadening the m43 range. They are now up to four distinctly different families of m43 cameras, plus a new m43 fixed-lens offering that was the rage at Photokina, while Olympus is down to two families, with new intros that are limited to timid incremental improvements of each. No surprise as they don't have the capital and corporate-management confidence to do more.

I hope another diversified camera company (Samsung?) buys Olympus's camera business when Olympus finally finds a buyer for the endoscope business, and invests in the m43 line. Panasonic hopes so too.

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