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Leica is going Chapter 11

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"The future is small photo devices in cell phones and who knows what else. The stand alone camera is doomed to extinction."


agreed. the results of digital are far surpassing its expectations. seven years ago they felt a 100meg sensor/capture would be needed to equal 35mm film, it's turns out today, it's only 6meg. the only reason we have dslr bodies is because of all the lenses. none of it is necessary for capture and the devices will get smaller and easier and commonplace.

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Leica needs to get their SLR lenses out in Nikon, Canon and Minolta mount ASAP. Face it, its lenses that they do best and I am certain there are many digital SLR users with those systems that would die to get their hands on Leica glass.


Become the ultimate 3rd party lens maker!

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Mike, you're kidding? the price of glass for Leica's is perhaps the main reason most people don't use it in the first place. And you think people are going to put down equally good Nikon glass for three times the amount? Come on man, you're just as out of touch as Leica itself...
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"And you think people are going to put down equally good Nikon glass for three times the amount?"


Nikon's lenses generally aren't as good as the equivalent Leica glass. But if you can't see the difference, then you've saved yourself some money, that's for sure. ;-)

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i guess i have Kevin :) But seriously, with most pictures being printed digitally, or not even leaving a monitor, or displayed on toliet paper printed with soy ink, how is Leica going to make better AF lenses than Nikon? (can i get an adapter for the Nocto 50? i want that one...)
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  • 4 weeks later...

It's hard for us (on the outside) to know what Leica's root cause problems are, but clearly they are not making their forecasts on key products. Also, the name "Leica" has become far less recognizable over the last 15 years, as advertising and promotion budgets have dropped. Significantly, the delta between "good" and "great" optics has narrowed, allowing low cost producers to create cameras of suitable quality for the masses.


So, what does this mean for Leica? First, it has to define its Target Market, then it has to create an "appeal" to that market. Finally, it needs to have the right products, services and pricing for that market.


Here are some (free) ideas for discussion:


1) The primary target market is the photojournalist. Secondary markets are (fill-in-the-blanks).


2) The "appeal" to the primary target segment: Compact but fully functional film and digital cameras suitable to the specific needs of photojournalists. Eg. R9, FZ20 and Digilux1/2. These cameras command a premium in the market for the following reasons:



1) reliability 2) ability to "grab" shots other cameras may miss 3) output quality 4) Lifetime warranty on parts and labor


Finally, what is the product mix? It should include services and other intangibles:


Annual maintenance subscription for non-warranty subscription services including preventive maintenance checkups, newsletters, webspace on Leica's site, discount on photo-safari's. Annual fee is 20% of the product selling price.


Weekly email messages with product endorsements and other promotional features, links to recent reviews.


Phone calls from Leica after service has been performed or to remind subscription owners of their annual CLA.


Tie-ins with 3rd parties - someone mentioned Fuji and Kodak on film... maybe specially formulated film, available from Leica, only available to Leica customers. Special SD RAM chips passing a higher level of Quality Control, only available from Leica.


We have heard examples of other industries that have "survived" the onslaught of new technologies. In almost every case, the new technologies were incorporated with the old.


Examples: Harley, lowered its cost of manufacture to become more profitable, can Leica do the same? Audio Research, will "update" old units (for a fee) helping customers protect their investments and making their products more valuable than competitors... can Leica do the same? Linn, the venerable turntable company, produced the first really hiqh quality CD-player - got RAVE reviews... kept its image in the marketplace ALIVE. Can Leica do the same?


Clearly, there's a LOT that Leica "can" do. But we don't know its strategy or its current position. Example, How big is the market for the Digital Back R? How many R8/R9's have been sold and are still in use? What % of R8/R9 buyers will buy the digital back? How many M7's will be sold? Since the older camera's are much beloved, why not re-introduce them (as has been done in the past). Would there be a buyer for a brand new M4 that is 20% below the cost of a used one, that was built as good or better, and had a lifetime parts warranty? Oh, yes, and required a 20% deposit up front and an 11 month wait to get. Hmmmm...


Instead of talking about all the "problems" at Leica (every company has problems) let's direct our efforts at helping save the company.


Most of these ideas would require very little expense... some re-tooling of manufacturing, reducing manufacturing costs. Other items are services, like the warranty, subscription, etc.


Leica could expand on the "photojournalist" target market by producing an annual subscription specifically geared to photojournalists. This could be advertiser sponsored, could have all kinds of content, and become a revenue generating portal. How much would that cost? As much as has been spent on the Digital Back R?


People have asked, what could Leica have done with the money that has been sprayed down the drain... they could have attracted new customers and coddled the existing ones.


Here are some examples of ways to build "brand loyalty":


There have been some reports (don't know if it's true) that some R-bodies were problematic. Why not do what Mazda did with the RX-7 when the new rotary engine started to fail... they backed up the engines with an extended 5 year warranty. Did they have to fix some engines, yes... but they are a car company still in business. Can Leica do the same? Suppose you are the "original" owner of an R body... why not offer to repair some of the "common problems" (assuming they exist) as part of a staged recall campaign. You get the camera in for repair, then you find that there are a few other things that can be done to it... like upgrades (new film spool, gaskets, etc. not part of the recall. You send a letter to the owner saying that for $150 we will "update" your 15-20 year old camera to "better than new" in some respects. Instant revenue. Of course you farm this work out to DAG, et. al., for $0.50 on the dollar, but it's still revenue... everyone's happy!


OK - creative time... I'm just throwing these ideas out there... there are other "target" groups other than photojournalists... how about...








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  • 3 weeks later...

"Sugar daddy is Hermes, a hugely profitable French company that may if anything increase its stake."




HA! Sugar daddy Hermes has been droping and desinvesting from all non-profiable haute-couture designers in the last months, just like the rest of the luxury industry. The old times when the luxury industry supported non-profitable brands for years and years has finished.




In my opinion Leica will survive as a lens maker, making lenses for elecrtonic companies, just like Zeiss. Most of the increase in revenue on Zeiss has come from the association with Sony according to their last annual report.

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