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Olympus brand will continue (for now) but Micro Four Thirds' future NOT confirmed

Olympus brand name WILL continue – but Micro Four Thirds' future NOT confirmed

The Olympus brand name will continue at least in the short term, following the sale to new owner Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), the manufacturer has confirmed. However, what it will not confirm is the future of the Micro Four Thirds format. 

Following the formal announcement of the sale agreement – which will see Olympus retain a 5% stake in the new OM Digital Solutions Corp owned by JIP – the manufacturer posted a statement regarding the future of its imaging business on its US website, with a Q&A section. 

• Read more: Best Olympus cameras

However, despite choosing to ask its own questions, Olympus curiously chose not to answer the big one: will its future remain, as it has stated ad nauseam for ten years, with Micro Four Thirds? Or will it follow Panasonic's lead into full-frame imaging, or even Fujifilm's step into medium format?

The company asked itself directly, "What is the future of Micro Four Thirds?" And the answer it chose to give was a noncommittal, "We are not able to comment on future product development at this time."

It is a very curious statement / non-statement. It has always been taken as red that the company was committed to Micro Four Thirds. It has become such a stock answer that the world has learned to stop asking it, and Olympus has spent a decade repeating again and again that it has no plans to abandon the format.

So for the company itself to refuse to confirm whether or not its future is still in Micro Four Thirds cameras? It has made what should be a non-issue into an issue…

The full statement and Q&A is below. 

(Image credit: Olympus / JIP)

REGARDING THE TRANSFER OF OUR IMAGING BUSINESS

A statement regarding our recent announcement and answers to your questions.

On September 30, 2020, Olympus signed a Definitive Agreement with Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. (JIP) regarding the transfer of the Olympus Imaging business.

Under the agreement, Olympus will transfer 95% of the shares of a new imaging company to JIP on January 1, 2021. Our new company name, OM Digital Solutions Corporation, will honor the inspiring legacy of Yoshihisa Maitani and Olympus Maitani cameras.

The agreement includes all R&D and manufacturing facilities currently dedicated to the Imaging business. This will ensure that OM Digital Solutions will continue to provide high-quality products and cutting-edge innovations to our customers.

Please find our most recent statement about the transfer here.

We understand you may have many questions, some of which we have answered below. We are sincerely grateful for your loyalty and support of our products, and for your passion for photography. As we move towards our new future, we're excited to continue our initiatives for photographers and will launch all new products as planned.

Are you going to stop producing cameras?
It is the intention that our organization will continue to sell and support cameras and lenses. Although specific market plans are still under consideration, we plan to continue our business in the Americas.

Will the Olympus brand name continue to be used?
While our official company name will be OM Digital Solutions, you can expect the Olympus brand name to stick around for the foreseeable future. Olympus branded products will continue to be available even after January 1, 2021.

Will the new lenses announced as under development for sales in 2020 still be introduced?
There are no plans to change our product launch plans within 2020. Products that have been announced as under development will be introduced to the market as planned. You can find the most up to date information on product launches by visiting: www.getolympus.com

What is the future of Micro Four Thirds? Is there any change to the proposed lens roadmap? Will there be a future replacement for my Olympus product?
We are not able to comment on future product development at this time. For the most up to date information on Olympus products in the Americas, please visit: www.getolympus.com

Will you still do business with my preferred retailer?
Olympus has no current plans to change our Authorized Retail partners at this time. Please find a nearby Olympus retailer by visiting www.getolympus.com/retailer in the US or www.getolympus.com/ca/en/retailer in Canada.

I have a question about my product. Who can I speak to?
Our Technical Support team is available to answer your product questions! You can see our hours of operation and contact methods by visiting: https://www.getolympus.com/customer-service#contact
Additionally, you can find support information for all of our products online by visiting: https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/support

Will you continue to hold events at my preferred retailer?
The most up to date information regarding local events can be found by visiting us online at: https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/events

I have a comment/question/concern. Who can I address it to?
We welcome your feedback via our convenient online portal. Please visit us online at: https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/contact-olympus

I placed an order on GetOlympus. Will I still receive it?
Yes. We will continue business as usual. You can check the status of your order by visiting: https://www.getolympus.com/customer-service

I placed an order with an Olympus Authorized Retailer. Will I still receive it?
We will continue business as usual. Please confirm your order details directly with the retailer.

My product is currently in your repair facility. Will it still be repaired?
Olympus' Authorized Service Centers are currently conducting business as usual. You can check the status of your repair by visiting: https://www.olympusedesk.com/cpgrepairs/cpg_servicerepair.asp

I need to have my product serviced. What should I do?
Olympus’ Authorized Service Centers are currently conducting business as usual. You can schedule your service by visiting: https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/repair in the US or https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/ca-en/repair in Canada.

What is the future of service in my country?
Olympus' Authorized Service Centers will continue business as usual during the transfer process.

Are there any plans to change the warranty coverage due to the transfer?
All service offerings such as repairs and warranty claims will be honored for Olympus-branded products both during a transfer and after a transfer. Customers currently making purchase decisions should feel confident that their products will continue to be supported in the future.

Read more: 

Olympus sale agreed – meet OM Digital Solutions Corporation
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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III review
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III review

  • Dave Haynie
    Here's the thing: folks know what Olympus and M43 is, and they can decide if they're interested or not. But continuing that makes plenty of sense, because those using Olympus today will be likely customers if JIP can pull that together.

    Moving to a whole new system, though? That would cost a fortune. Launching a new system of any kind is a huge risk and a huge investment. Canon has done pretty well launching EOS R, but look at how they did it: they made fairly cheap bodies and adapters, so any EF user could buy an R body and just stop there if they wanted to. Then they made a bunch of "hero" lenses for RF mount to attract those same people into buying a lens and, thus, becoming real RF system users.

    Nikon has nice gear for the Z, but they haven't been nearly as successful. Panasonic, as well, has some nice cameras, but THE L-MOUNT ALLIANCE!!! has not really done well yet, either. All of these are well known names: Canon, Leica, Panasonic, Nikon. Who's JIP or OM Digital Solutions again? Would anyone buy a FF camera from a relative unknown? Or even they could use the Olympus name?

    I guess they could join the L-MOUNT ALLIANCE!!! , at least, that would make buying from them safer than if they went it along, But I think they'll just stick to M43.
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