Olympus as we knew it officially stopped making cameras on January 1, with the new OM Digital Solutions Corporation taking over cameras, lenses and accessories that were previously manufactured and sold by the long-established Japanese maker. Shigemi Sugimoto, the former Imaging Head for Olympus, has been appointed Representative Director and President of OM Digital Solutions Corporation. It’s not entirely clear what is happening to the Olympus brand, but Sugimoto commented as follows.
“Under a new organisational structure, with Management, Research and Development, Manufacturing, and Sales departments operating as one, we will endeavour to further improve our services and enhance our product lineup for all those who love our brands, including OM-D, PEN, and Zuiko…
As OM Digital Solutions Corporation, we will continue to launch innovative products in existing business areas such as cameras, audio recorders, and binoculars, while combining our inherited manufacturing capabilities with state-of-the-art digital technologies, to provide new solutions that stretch beyond the boundaries of existing products on the market.”
The statement continues to emphasise the “key values” behind the OM Digital Solutions name, so while it’s possible the Olympus brand will be eventually phased out, it seems likely to continue for the medium term at least (though it’s a brave pundit who makes predictions about the photo industry at the moment). The Olympus name has a lot of ‘brand capital, and the new company is facing intense competition from well-known, deep-pocketed rivals such as Sony and Canon. Rebranding at the moment is risky, to say the least.
“The letters “OM” in the company name, embody the position of always challenging difficult situations, and developing new products and technologies,” Sugimoto added. “In the digital era, “OM” has been reborn as “OM-D”, and it is leading our imaging brand as the prominent mirrorless camera line.”
OM Digital Solutions is owned by by Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), a buy-out specialist. See the new website here. The product section links back to the Olympus Asia page, and there is not much of substance beyond that.