Confirming earlier reports, Sony has officially announced that it is entering an alliance with Olympus, supporting the ailing imaging company. Sony is pumping $645 million into Olympus, and the two are forming business and capital alliances together. The meat of the deal is that Sony is gaining a seat on Olympus' board, as well as 51% of a new medical imaging venture — which is pegged to be worth 66 billion Yen ($850 million) by 2020.
Of more concern to those of us in the photography world is what will happen in the camera business. Here's the official statement:
The two companies aim to enhance their competitiveness, primarily in the area of compact digital cameras, by exploring opportunities for mutually beneficial transactions and collaboration between their respective camera businesses, including the supply of Olympus technologies such as camera lenses and mirror cells to Sony, and the provision of Sony image sensors to Olympus.
The announcement specifically mentions the technology trade will focus on "compact digital cameras" which could prove beneficial for both companies. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 showed exactly how well Olympus could make use of a Sony sensor, so the deal could mean more fantastic cameras out of Olympus and more lenses for the Sony NEX cameras. Both good things in our eyes.