Canon throws shade at Olympus / OM Digital Solutions

Canon vs Olympus

Canon's chairman and CEO has done the business equivalent of throwing shade at OM Digital Solutions, the company born of Olympus selling off its camera division. 

In an interview with the Japanese press, the executive cast doubt on the future of OM Digital Solutions, particularly domestically.

• Read more: Best Olympus cameras (opens in new tab)

In talking with Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (The Daily News), Canon chairman Fujio Mitarai was asked about the harsh environment of the camera business, which has led to "industry reorganization" such as Olympus divesting its imaging division. 

"Camera may have been reorganized (with the withdrawal of Olympus)," said Mitarai (opens in new tab) (via Digital Camera Info (opens in new tab)). "The remaining concern is the future of OM Digital Solutions (which inherited Olympus' camera business), but it is unlikely that there are buyers in Japan."

This might seem a strange comment at first. After all, Olympus Imaging was bought by a Japanese firm, Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), which then formed the new company OM Digital Solutions to continue the development and sale of Olympus cameras and lenses.

However, JIP isn't in the camera business – it's in the business of purchasing failing  companies or divisions, making them profitable by whatever means necessary, and then selling them on to a new buyer. 

While it has given assurances that OM Digital Solutions will continue to operate as the imaging division always did under Olympus, JIP is still a carve-out firm. And the bottom line is that the imaging division was losing a lot of money. 

To turn things around, OM Digital Solutions either needs to sell a lot more cameras or do a lot of cost cutting – and in the current camera market, let alone with a pandemic and supply chain issues, that's a tough task. 

Either way, it seems that Canon isn't optimistic about JIP's ability to sell the business on in Japan. 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.