Sony Buys Shares of Olympus, Makes Good on Promise to Support Camera Division

Sony Buys Shares of Olympus, Makes Good on Promise to Support Camera Division

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sony is buying up a healthy share of Olympus stock, furthering on their previous announcement that the two companies would share tech and co-produce product. This is a huge, bold move that makes real Sony's promise to continue to build their camera division. Sony, I am impressed. You're on your way to making me a believer.

Sony is getting adventurous, hungry, is taking risks, and I love it. A few months ago, I wrote about Sony’s abysmal financial state. They were losing money. Hemorrhaging it actually. Nearly every one of their many divisions was underperforming. But at the beginning of this fiscal year, Sony made a pledge to stand firm in the photography market. They were going to do great things, they promised. Many photographers, including myself, were skeptical to say the least. Sony had not done much so far, what made us think they would start now?

Sony, you are proving me wrong.

Today Sony and Olympus made a huge announcement: Olympus it will raise ¥49 billion ($631.6 million) by issuing new shares to Sony. This move effectively gives 11.5% voting rights to Sony, making Sony the largest shareholder in Olympus. This follows an earlier announcement that Sony and Olympus would be teaming up to co-produce product and share technology. We all knew that Olympus was going to need help digging itself out of the hole its former management dug (the former CEO recently pled guilt to falsifying the company’s financials to hide their poor sales), and Sony took this opportunity to make good on their promise to boost their camera division.

Add to this Sony’s partnership with Hasselblad, and you have a trifecta of camera awesomeness. Think about it. The three brands now have a complete overarching product line that appeals to every type of photographer and skill level. Olympus covers the lower end and combines with Sony’s mirrorless line to appeal to that wide market, Sony’s new A99 and the rest of that line appeals to pros and pro-sumers, and Hasselblad obviously has a grip on the high end market. These three together make for a powerful competitor… on paper. I would still like to see some financial numbers, because these partnerships aren't cheap.

Hasselblad’s Lunar announcement was met with less that the fanfare that they had become accustomed to. It was actually ridiculed. I’ll admit, the Lunar wasn’t the best way to merge Sony and Hasselblad. It stank of poor planning and a haphazard Frankenstein of a camera that came about simply to make physical the partnership of the two companies. But that’s ok, it’s only the beginning.

Only a few months ago I believed Sony to be on the path of self-destruction. Today, I’m singing a far different tune, and am for the first time grateful that I have a Sony store not far from my office. I will likely be frequenting that location in the next six to twelve months to watch Sony continue to prove me wrong. I want them to prove me wrong.

Jaron Schneider's picture

Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

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the hasselblad is a joke. other then that, Sony is going to make a dent! keep in mind that some of the latest and greatest Nikon and Cannons use the Sony chip and Sony EVF. They make the first full frame compact (although i think its a little over priced). the new A99 is awesome!  and they have some great new Zeiss additions to the lens line up for A-Mount and E-Mount

Can you please explain the bit about how each division is catering to whatever segment? I thought each company is still independant from the other, while both Olympus and Sony already catering to low/mid/pro ranges by themselves.

They are independent, what I meant was that when you look at all three of them together, their reach expands over the entire market. There isn't a camera made by one of those three that doesn't attract at least one type of photographer from every conceivable market. 

Sony doesn't market enough. I ALWAYS see canon and Nikon ads, but hardly ever Sony ads, for cameras.
MAYBE on a webpage or two but, as for t v, YouTube, etc. nothing.
And their cameras are OKAY cameras at high prices.
I WAS A HUGE MINOLTA digital body fan. And when sony bought Minolta, the cameras lost their high iso noise performance.( the maxxum 7D digital body had amazing low noise compared to anything at the time, up until the D90 nikon was released)
blah I am rambling.
ANYWAYS, have a good one everyone ;-)

I've been wrong before so take it with a grain of salt but here it goes; forget Sony and stick with Nikon and Canon - although gotta like the low end stuff thats coming out.  Anyways I personally hope they succeed, competition helps us all win.