Japanese camera maker Olympus has announced that it will exit the camera business entirely by the end of the year. The company recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), who will be inheriting its camera division and shares once the deal closes in December.
According to the MOU, Olympus stated that it had struggled to maintain its camera business despite introducing measures to cope with “the extremely severe digital camera market.” The company noted that the rapid market shrink was caused by the popularity and evolution of smartphones.
For those unfamiliar, JIP are also the owners of the VAIO brand after acquiring it from Sony back in 2014. The memorandum states that the company plans to streamline the business and will continue to develop products using Olympus imaging brands such as OM-D and Zuiko.
By handing over its 84-year camera business to JIP, the company will instead continue to focus on its medical division which has been a major part of its overall business. Olympus Medical is known to provide endoscopic, ultrasound, electrocautery, and endotherapy equipment to hospitals and other medical centers worldwide.
Both companies plan to sign a definitive agreement by the end of September 2020, with the deal expected to close by the end of this year. Although we may no longer see newer cameras bearing the Olympus brand, fans can be rest assured that series such as Pen and OM-D will continue to live on under new ownership hopefully by 2021 onwards.