The WSJ writes that Sony now owns 40% of the global sensor market:
“Unlike memory chips, making image sensors requires craftsmanship, and that’s not something competitors can copy in the short term,” says Hideaki Miwa, analyst at Techno Systems Research Co. According to the Tokyo research firm, Sony sold 40% of all image sensors last year, up from 35% in 2013. OmniVision’s market share was 16%, followed by 15% for Samsung. Total sales of image sensors grew to an estimated $8.65 billion last year, up more than 80% since 2009. Some analysts say keeping up with demand might be Sony’s biggest immediate challenge. In the long run, Sony could be vulnerable because of its dependence on Apple, which sometimes has shifted suppliers with little warning. Satoru Oyama, a semiconductor analyst at research firmIHS Inc., says Apple likely would consider buying image sensors for iPhones elsewhere if another company could match Sony’s quality and price.”
via Image Sensor World.
Just a couple of consideration about the Sony sensor strategy on Digital Cameras (based on rumors, news and patents)
1) Sony plans to sell Four Thirds sensor to Olympus (See their new FT sensor at Sony.net).
2) Sony is now expanding their sensor sales to all manufactures. Mamiya/Pentax/Hasselbald use Sony’s 50MP CMOS medium format sensor. Canon uses Sony’s 1 inch sensor on the Canon G7x. Nikon on FF cameras and Pentax on APS-C DSLR.
3) Plenty of patents do disclose that Sony is working on Foveon alike sensor
4) Global Shutter will be mainstream in 2-3 years.
This means sensor in Alpha cameras will remain feature the best tech of the moment for the time being. There is little competition…for now.