The Olympus brand does not appear to be part of the deal which will see all the other assets of Olympus imaging – including use of the sub brands M.Zuiko, OM-D and PEN – transferred to private equity operating under the OM Digital Solutions brand.
Olympus has used tricky forms of words to falsely reassure Olympus fans and supporting retailers that the Olympus brand will continue to be used by OM Digital Solutions as part of the deal: ‘will utilize the Olympus brand for a certain period‘…’you can expect the Olympus brand name to stick around for the foreseeable future. Olympus branded products will continue to be available even after January 1, 2021′ (But how about June 1, 2021?)…’The new company will be using the Olympus brand from its establishment until the foreseeable future. There is no plan for use of the Olympus brand to be discontinued immediately after the transfer is completed.’
But surely as far as Olympus Corp is concerned, the ‘foreseeable future’ of the Olympus Imaging assets is January 1, when it no longer owns them! It’s difficult enough to predict the future if one has some control. Unless there is some facts we aren’t aware of – and that could well be – Olympus does not have control of the future of OM Digital Solutions. At least that’s the conclusion Inside Imaging has come to!
So instead of asking what the future of the Olympus brand is and being directed to a Q&A sheet, we asked Olympus Australia Marketing Team member and media contact Ante Badzim the following questions:
– Does the sale of Olympus Imaging assets to JIP include rights to use the OLYMPUS brand?
– If so, for how long does that continue?
We didn’t get a straight answer, alas, but Ante was kind enough to shed a little more light on what is a fairly critical factor in the equation for supporting retailers and Olympus loyalists. He told Inside Imaging: ‘OM Digital Solutions will be using the Olympus brand from its establishment. The exact duration of its use is currently undecided.
‘Long term, OM Digital Solutions will consider developing a brand name that is familiar and resonates with customers and the Olympus legacy.’
From this we can fairly safely assume that no, the licence for the brand didn’t come with the acquisition, just as ‘Sony’ didn’t come with the sub-brand VAIO when that business was acquired by OM Digital Solutions parent, private equity firm JIP.
Speaking of which, we haven’t heard boo from the new owner, which in itself is highly unusual. The usual routine is for the heads of both companies to host a press conference or at least issue a release in which they express their absolute delight in each other and the deal, note that ‘the acquisition makes perfect business sense and is a great strategic fit’…’innovation is in both business’ DNA’…’business as usual’, blah de blah blah.
Back in early July we made the following comment. Nothing which has been said or done since has changed the equation: ‘Without more than anodyne assurances that “it’s business as usual” how can specialist retailers, with their specialist, inside knowledge, and with their hands on their hearts, recommend an Olympus purchase to a customer if they are unsure whether there will be on-going camera system development, or even ongoing support for that purchase in, say, 18 months time?
UPDATE: Olympus spokesperson Ante Badzim has come back to us via email with the following material, none of which conflicts with the central point of this story, being that JIP does not have ongoing rights to use the Olympus brand:
Our consistent message has been our commitment to ongoing strategy, continued support and development and release of new products. For comments concerning R&D, ongoing support and impact to customers, please find the July interview below from Setsuya Kataoka, VP of Global Strategy that may provide some clarity.
Previous statements highlight, services, repairs and warranties will continue, and customers will receive support for future purchases.
Additional statements below which reiterate our commitment to development, maintaining R&D and ongoing support.