The advent of the mirrorless compact system camera (CSC) laid the bedrock for Olympus to compete in an industry dominated by Canon and Nikon, says former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford.
Woodford, who was fired after quizzing his Olympus colleagues about dubious multi-million dollar financial transactions, told Amateur Photographer (AP): ?The problem for Olympus has always been the dominance of Canon and Nikon in the DSLR market.
?Their dominance was rather like our business in endoscopes, but the advent of mirrorless cameras has brought about a renaissance.?
Woodford said he is a big fan of the Olympus Pen E-P3, a 12.3-million-pixel CSC camera announced earlier this year with a 3in OLED touchscreen.
?It?s lovely to be talking about the business again, rather than about bad corporate governance and worse,? he told AP.
He admitted that consumer electronics is a tough business and believes there are ?too many players? in camera manufacturing.
?But Olympus is probably in a better position than most, if the Pen is an illustration,? he claimed, adding that the Pen E-P3 micro four thirds model holds a leading position in Japan, Korea, Singapore and elsewhere.
Insisting he has no plans to sell Olympus?s camera business, should he be reinstated, he stressed that the camera side is ?pretty straightforward? and sits well alongside the firm?s medical equipment division, with the two businesses sharing ?a lot of common components?.
He added: ?The distribution channels are very limited so you don?t need a massive infrastructure. What you need to do is invest in the product, and also to some extent, the brand. But to me the product is everything. We?ve seen that with the Pen? to get back to 24, 25% [market share] in Japan ? the home of Canon and Nikon is quite remarkable.
?You would be a romantic and a fantasist if you felt this was going to be a really profitable business? But it could be a profitable business and it can utilise the infrastructure of, for example in the UK, KeyMed which is a brilliant company.
?It [KeyMed] is essentially one of the jewels in the crown of the Olympus empire, it always has been? the infrastructure is already there.?
He explained that you don?t need an ?HR department? to put a part on a camera but cautioned: ?You?ve got to keep a focus because they are very different businesses.?
This week Woodford is helping investigators get to the bottom of the financial crisis amid reports that the scandal has links, denied by Olympus, to Japanese crime syndicates known as ‘Yakuza’.
To read more from this interview with Michael Woodford see HERE