Olympus (Camera) Has Fallen

Japanese photo imaging giant, Olympus, who has been in the camera business since 1936, has snapped its last photo. 

The camera company, which has focused on the Micro Four Thirds format for its interchangeable lens camera system, announced that it will sell its camera division of the business to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, the company that bought over Sony’s VAIO laptop division a few years ago.

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Details of the sale, which is intended to be completed by the end of September, were not revealed. The company said that it will focus its business on the larger medical imaging equipment market, where it currently holds over 70% of the global endoscope segment.

Despite its best efforts to keep costs down for a product line-up that has, in the last decade, ceded dominance to the highly sophisticated mobile smartphone market. Meanwhile, its focus on high-priced, premium cameras and lenses has led the company to record operating losses for the last three consecutive fiscal years. There was also the 2013 accounting scandal that amounted to US$1.7 billion.

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Currently, the company has given no indicator on how this sale might impact the current owners of Olympus’ range of mirrorless cameras and lenses. While the company said JIP will continue to operate the business, which includes selling existing and developing new cameras, JIP’s track record with Vaio, now considered a pale shadow of its former self, doesn’t speak much of the new owner’s track record.