In a recent interview posted on the Nikon website their President, Makoto Kimura, comments on the company’s performance during the first half of the current fiscal year. Kimura uses the interview to address all elements of Nikon’s business portfolio and also make separate statements on what camera aficionados can expect from Nikon in both the short and long term.
With the new Nikon Ds set to be fully unveiled fairly soon attention should be given to Kimura’s comment that “to improve earnings, we must not only reduce costs, but also increase the appeal of our products, and the degree to which they are differentiated. We are less likely to succeed in developing differentiated products, if we only improve the functions and performance of existing equipment. I want Nikon to develop products based on new concepts that raise the bar considerably.” While shining an apparent light on the type of cameras we can expect Nikon to release in the future it runs a little contradictory to recent confirmations that the new Nikon Ds’ body is almost identical to the old version. Kimura’s comments do not necessarily enforce the recent and seemingly intelligent online speculation that the substance of modifications for the Ds will be in the internals not the externals.
Elsewhere it looks like Kimura offers confirmation that Nikon is continuing to reposition itself away from the high-end, high-innovation area of the DSLR market with current priorities being placed on cutting down production costs and broadening market appeal. Kimura, “When it comes to interchangeable lens-type digital cameras, we need to question our ability to offer truly innovative functions and performance. Another essential element is cost reduction. Imaging products account for the majority of the component procurement within the Nikon Group. We will focus on further reducing procurement costs by revising procurement methods and other means.”
While Kimura celebrates Nikon’s profits rising above initial August 13 forecasts he cautions on the need for Nikon’s Imaging Company to “fully grasp the changes taking place in the markets for both compact digital cameras, and interchangeable lens-type digital cameras,” in an allusion to the significant threat posed to the industry by smartphones. No doubt this is also a the chief concern in the minds of Nikon’s rivals as all the major camera companies look set to spend a lot of 2014 trying to differentiate for buyers the benefits of using a stand alone camera over the cameras found in their smart phones. Is there anything that can be done to counter the intrusion of smart phones?
To read the full English translation of his interview click here