Would that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet? Would an Olympus camera still be an Olympus camera if it didn't have the Olympus name on the front?
Ever since news broke that Olympus Imaging was being sold to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), there have been questions as to whether the brand name would still be used. However, while the manufacturer last week led us to believe that the Olympus brand would continue "for the foreseeable future", it has since made clear that it will in fact only use the name "for a certain period".
The clarification comes via a press release from Olympus UK:
"Under the agreement, Olympus will transfer 95% of the shares of a new imaging company to JIP on January 1, 2021. The new company name, OM Digital Solutions Corporation, will honor the inspiring legacy of Yoshihisa Maitani and Olympus Maitani cameras. The New Imaging Company will continue with our existing brands, such as OM-D, PEN and ZUIKO, and will utilize the Olympus brand for a certain period."
This stands in contrast to earlier statements made by the manufacturer, suggesting that the Olympus name was not due for discontinuation. According to Olympus USA, for example:
"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."
And Olympus Australia was even more forthright in suggesting that the brand name would not be immediately discontinued:
"Will the Olympus brand no longer be available for use?
The new company will be using the Olympus brand from its establishment until the foreseeable future. There is no plan for use of the Olympus brand to be discontinued immediately after the transfer is completed."
Obviously, it is not true that the brand will continue for "the foreseeable future" if it can be foreseen that it can only be used "for a certain period". Whether that period is when a given amount of time has expired, or when current stocks of already-manufactured product with the Olympus name on it have been exhausted, it seems that there really is a shelf life on the brand.
While we don't think this is a deliberate case of corporate obfuscation, the mixed messaging coming from different territories is no less disconcerting for Olympus customers eager for reassurance about the future of their system.
Still, it is confirmed that cameras we'll be getting more cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III and Olympus PEN E-PL10, and lenses like the upcoming Olympus M.Zuiko 100-450mm are still on the way. The question is how long they'll still have the Olympus name on the front.
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