The financial news website 24/7 Wall Street has included the maker of our "Camera of the Year" in its annual prediction of brands it expects to go belly-up in the coming year. "Olympus, which only has 7% market share, has failed to generate a profit from its imaging business in any of the past three years," notes the site, probably failing to take into account the effects of the accounting scandal. The last three years have indeed been tough on Olympus. In any event, get that E-M1 while you can!
Note that I do have a disturbing habit of buying cameras from companies that go bust. I shot Contax for years (and loved them), and my first DSLR was a Konica-Minolta 7D (also a lovely camera). I owned several Bronicas. 247wallst.com's list also includes Barnes & Noble's Nook (we sell Kindles! We sell Kindles!), the WNBA, and retailer J.C. Penney, which has survived past appearances on the list. (I think Mitsubishi has been on the list before, too.) [UPDATE: In the Comments, Nathan points out that 24/7 Wall Street went zero for 10 in their predictions in 2012 for brands that would expire in 2013.]
Meanwhile, Olympus predicts that 24/7 Wall Street itself will bite the dust during the coming year, prey to increasing competition on the Web. (No, it didn't. Just kidding.)
Meanwhile, I got a really cool new photographic toy for The-Holiday-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named. Wow. I can't tell you what it is yet, but I'll definitely write about it sometime this month.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Bernd: "Funny...Olympus themselves expect to post a profit for their 2014 book year. We'll see."
Steve Biro: "Mike, your tongue-in-cheek line about Olympus predicting the demise of 24/7 Wall Street reminds me of one of my favorite t-shirt slogans: 'God is Dead. —Nietzsche, 1882. Nietzsche is Dead. —God, 1900.'"
Mike replies: Steve, great minds think alike. I almost included that in the post. :-)
Kenneth Tanaka: "No, I wouldn't pay much attention to that site's 'predictions.' Olympus's fortunes are looking up thanks to the E-M models. On the other hand Phase One and Hasselblad are brands that should be nervous, most especially Hassy. Their raison d'etre sure seems to be evaporating in the wake of the latest crop of high-performance consumer cameras."
Jason: "Interesting you posted this as I was about ready to pull the trigger on an E-M1. I saw an article on Phoblographer where a Credit Suisse analysis was also stating Canon, Nilon and Sony would be the only ones left standing. It gives me some pause, but I'm ready to trade out my aging D80 and mediocre zooms against the new Olympus and good glass."
Mike replies: See, different people have very different reactions to this sort of thing. I can definitely see your point of view, but knowing that a product might be endangered makes me want to buy it more, not less—because it makes me want to enjoy and appreciate it while I still can. If Olympus went out of business today, I would buy a second E-M1 immediately. I'm not kidding; I would.
My favorite quote on this topic, which I love to trot out:
In fifteen years, the electrolytic power-supply capacitors will get old. Depending on usage, you will begin to have semiconductor and other failures between 10 and 50 years after date of manufacture. Later, the sun will cool to a white dwarf, and after that, the universe will experience heat death.
—Nelson Pass, from the Pass Aleph 0 User's Manual, explaining the life expectancy of the product
In other words, everything ends; carpe diem.