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December 03, 2011

Former Olympus CEO wants current Olympus board to go away

The Olympus saga continues, with the former CEO Woodward visiting Japan and calling for the current board of directions to step down as they have been "tainted" by the scandal. Detailed coverage at Amateur Photographer UK, which has on-going coverage - check also their News Archives for past, present and future coverage of this situation.

Earlier in the week there was talk/rumors that the camera business would be sold, but Olympus said not so.

Speculation + Opinion
Long-winded post after the jump...

Unlike the recent purchase of Pentax by Ricoh, a purchase of the Olympus camera business would have additional complications. And I am not talking about the business scandal. Whoever would be buying Olympus cameras, they would also be "buying" a relationship with Panasonic, since they are both members of Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds and share sensors and other tangibles and intangibles. So it has to be someone who does not object to working with Panasonic. For some potential buyers that may not be an issue, but others may not have (or do not want to have) a good relationship with Panasonic (unless that buyer was Panasonic herself).

This also means the new buyer would not have complete control of their own destiny (and we know how control-freakish our corporate overlords are!). On the other hand, companies with good working relationships with Panasonic could consider this situation a plus.

And where would such a buyer come from? A company already in the camera business or someone from the outside? The camera world is already crowded and the hot products du jour in the electronics world are smartphones, tablets, game consoles, 3D and such.

Of note there are a couple of recent movers in the digital imaging segment. First up, JVC: there were rumors of JVC flirting with the idea of buying Pentax a few months ago, and JVC is currently flirting with the semi-serious market with their new superzoom hybrid camera/camcorder designs. These are not rebadged shiny silver clones, so they must have dedicated R&D resources to this project - a sign of interest in the segment.

The second mover is GE. In a busy and crowded field, they went against conventional wisdom and launched waves of shiny silver clone digital cameras. No doubt they are counting on the GE name brand recognition to sell the shiny silver clones. Their "top" cameras so far are shiny silvers in the middle tier of the fixed lens digital camera market (superzooms, waterproofs, built-in projector). Would they want to take their involvement in this field to the next level with Olympus?

Please note this section is pure speculation and opinion!
Please note this section is pure speculation and opinion!
Please note this section is pure speculation and opinion!

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