Olympus Reduces their Camera Lineup

As technology continues to advance, companies that are built around tech-based products are being forced to alter their tactics to avoid growing deficits in the market. Olympus is currently facing such difficulty with regards to their cheaper line of cameras. The fact of the matter is that cameras are now becoming mainstay secondary functions in phones, tablets, and the like. These devices such as smartphones are often offering more quality and pixels than the competing cameras Olympus offers on the lower side of the price spectrum. It doesn’t help Olympus’ case that something like a smartphones offers the ability to quickly share pictures rather than the more lengthy process of a typical compact camera.

As a result Olympus is reducing their product strategy by cutting the low cost option. Something like a camera is considered to be in the mature stage of the product lifecycle, and the standardized camera can already be found on existing devices. Accordingly Olympus will be placing more emphasis on higher-end models and reducing their product line. Their new objective is attempting to focus more on the differentiation that expensive lenses offer to consumers. Interestingly enough is that while lenses can be unique in their mechanics, they’re still standardized to be used for a variety of cameras. This means Olympus can put their effort into an already reliable camera design and construct more lenses around that which can be used interchangeably. Modular design is a simple way for companies to provide variety for consumers while cutting production costs.

It should be noted that it’s not just Olympus that is suffering in the market. Canon, arguably one of the most well-known brands, had a 34% decline in net profit according to the article. The same surge of profit loss can likely be said for any company doing business with stand-alone cameras. Canon to me seems like a company that focuses heavily on their expensive cameras and lenses, and yet they’re still suffering from such losses.

I’ve never known much about Olympus as their cameras always seemed to be low-rated when it came to their offerings for compact cameras. The article I read, however, really surprised me. Their biggest business isn’t even cameras, it’s medical equipment. I looked on their website and they offer a variety of devices for endoscopy, ultrasound, and so on. One could easily imagine that medical equipment is on the rise now more than ever before when considering the aging population.

Do you think it would be more beneficial for Olympus to completely cut all their camera offerings, and focus on their more profitable sectors (e.g. medical equipment)? Is there still a place for cheaper cameras amidst the evolving smartphone market? Could Olympus possibly offer anything for their expensive lenses/cameras that would cripple strong contenders like Canon?


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