I can confirm all that, the origin is in a Japanese economic newspaper the Nikkei, of January 25 2007, in which President Kikukawa of the same company expresses in interview of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun Inc in the morning edition. On verifying this I read that the president also claimed to be hunting #2 spot in dSLRs. He said they are not after volume but proffits.
The claims about 3 cameras and not 1 or 2 also seem true, and the same information has appeared on numerous blogs and newsagencies.
On the market attractions, if you examine the dSLR makers of Canon, Nikon and Olympus, Nikon indeed look somewhat weaker. Yes there volumes have upheld but the are significantly smaller and with less diversification than Olympus. One good indicator is the strength of employment, where Canon employ 121,588, Nikon 19,944, and even a downscaled Olympus 33,022. Olympuses fiscal year ends in March, and they are happily back in the black after some years of going backwards. Four thirds investment is ofcourse responsible for this. Return on assets last quarter was 15.49%, against Nikon at 4.67%.
DSLR sales in FY 2005/2006
Minolta: 90,000 (first half of FY 05/06)
Remember Olympus has done this with E1 out of the frame and on the backs of E300, E500 and E330, E300 having just been dropped. Since then Sony have aquired Konica-Minolta and a resurgence in sales have pushed Olympus out of the number 3 spot in Japan. But sales have since flattened considerably and Olympus are likely set to recover their number 3.
Establishing the number 2 spot indeed seems optimistic, but perhaps they sense a diversley weak Nikon, with a dependence on its new rivals sensors (Sony) Nikon may be cutoff from more rapid future developments, are a target of opportunity. Add to the mix that 4/3 is not in direct competition because it isnt an APS C, therefore you could conclude that Canon Nikon Sony and Pentax will be trading for share between each other. Advantage niche market.
There were also hints of some disatisfactions between Panasonic and Olympus, but in the translated terms that really could mean anything.
Is 4/3 a dead ball?, you would be brave indeed to make that assertion this year.