Olympus Will Stop Making Cameras To Focus On Medical Equipment Market

source: The Verge

Japan’s Olympus, a household name in the camera world said that it will be selling its struggling camera business to focus on something else – medical equipment, which is the major portion of the firm’s business.

The company has been in the camera business since 1936, first launching a product with the Zuiko lens. However, traditional cameras have been less of a demand since the rise of smartphones. It has also struggled with rivals in the industry and has lost money for the last three years.

According to Japan Today, the company has signed a memo of understanding to transfer its camera business to investment fund Japan Industrial Partners, the same company that bought over VAIO computer business from Sony. They aim to seal the final deal by end of September, although the value of the sale was not disclosed.

There are numerous products that are made popular by Olympus, such as the half-size camera Olympus Pen, the world’s first micro-cassette tape recorder Zuiko Pearlcoder, and the Olympus OM-D series, a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.

Olympus Pen EE-3. source: Lomography
Zuiko Pearlcoder. source: aucfree.com
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark 3. source: Harvey Norman

The company said it has tried to survive by cutting costs and developing profitable, high-end lenses in an age where it is increasingly difficult for the digital camera market, but concluded that its efforts weren’t enough.

“Despite all efforts, Olympus’s Imaging business recorded operating losses for three consecutive fiscal years up to the term ended in March 2020,” the company said.

On the other hand, Olympus has seen success in the medical equipment field with a 70 percent share of the global endoscope market.

The decision to cease its camera division comes after many of its domestic rivals like Fujifilm and Canon have also aggressively expanded into the medical equipment sector due to the same pressure from dwindling camera sales.

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