by thom is one of the big names in digital photography. His website is highly visited and his predictions often right.
His predictions for Olympus are quite bad.
“Pentax and Olympus seem particularly vulnerable to me as long term DSLR players at this point (I consider Fujifilm already gone).”
His vision about Olympus and Panasonic partnerships:
“Panasonic‘s awkward 4/3 alliance with Olympus produces as much a competitor as it does an ally, and I’m pretty sure Panasonic doesn’t really like splitting whatever share 4/3 grabs with another player. With Panasonic buying Sanyo, this increases the pressure on Olympus, as now Panasonic will own the contract manufacturer Olympus has been using.”
He has positive feeling about Panasonic strategy:
“Sony and Panasonic are certainly doing well enough in compacts to survive there, the question is whether their costs at trying to expand into DSLRs are fully justified. In 2009, I think they’ll survive the cut.”
And his final prediction:
Olympus. Okay, some of my “other company” predictions have not been terribly specific. Here’s a specific one: Olympus will sell more of their first micro 4/3 compact (the one whose prototype showed up at Photokina) than they do DSLRs. And not by a small margin. Olympus will be very happy with that, perhaps even smug. But that’s the wrong reaction. If I’m right about how popular their micro 4/3 compact will be, this is actually a serious indictment of their DSLR strategy. Regular 4/3 is not particularly sustainable in the face of micro 4/3 being successful. At the high end, Olympus’ E3 will be staring down four or more 20mp+ DSLRs. In the middle, the E-5xx and baby E3 (E30) have Canon, Nikon, and Sony to contend with and aren’t making inroads. At the bottom, the E-4xx is totally canibalized by the G1 and micro 4/3. And worse still, the existing 4/3 lens lineup is simply too big and not fully ready for micro 4/3. It appears that Olympus will simply reiterate the 4/3 lenses with the new electronics needed by micro 4/3. That’s a band-aid at best. Olympus’ 4/3 bet now hinges on sensor developments. They need compact sensor sized photosites with APS or better qualities for 4/3 to live (note I didn’t say micro 4/3). The problem with that is that, if such a breakthrough did happen, it won’t be limited to 4/3. Compacts, APS, and FX will all see the same benefits, and thus 4/3 keeps falling short at the high end. This is a tough year for Olympus. Indeed, their problem is that they’re getting pulled into the gravity of the bigger planet, Panasonic. With Panasonic buying Sanyo, who assembles many of the Olympus products, there’s great risk to them becoming another P-brand
My considerations in short:
I’ll NOT agree completely! What do you think?