Dear Japan Industrial Partners Inc, Olympus Cameras Can Still Be Great, so Don’t Melt Them Down for Parts

The shock news landed this morning that Olympus has sold their camera division to Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (JIP), and while they have confirmed to Olympus that both OM-D and Zuiko will be utilized, fears are growing that the camera division will be metaphorically melted down for parts.The news this morning was both shocking and not so shocking. It was shocking insofar as despite the $157 million losses its imaging division reported last November, Olympus denied rumors that they were looking to sell that part of their business in the coming months. As many suspected, however, the scythe was hovering, and this morning, it was swung.I’m saddened by this news. I truly am. Their imaging division has been a staple of the industry for the best part of a century, their rich history plays an important role in the history of photography, and the employees are some of the most talented, innovative, and passionate people I’ve met. Perhaps it’s a feature of Japanese companies, as I felt similarly about Fujifilm when I visited them in Tokyo, but they just seem to care. It isn’t a large (or possibly necessary) perk of a company to care about, but it resonated with me. But sentimentality aside, now comes a bigger worry for the industry: what will JIP do with the Olympus camera division?

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