1 Everything you say is very true provided Sony really wants to be in the camera business and not the component business; but I suspect they really want to turn themselves into the ARM of sensors - and remember Acorn and Olivetti exited computers quite early ...
In other words, I think Sony knows cameras will be commoditized, but sensor/optic combos will be everywhere. They stick it out until everybody else is their customer, or until they own a piece of everyone else except Canon, and they're happy.
On a related note, I'm surprised Canon isn't pouring money into sensor research, seeing the market for phones, cars etc.
2 Nikon and photography generally look to be a footnote of a much larger move to electronic imaging systems in which ultimately commoditisation will prevail.
1. I still have an Olivetti Lettera 32 in its case; were if not for the ribbons I'd still be able to use it. Will my descendents be able to access my photo files, should the silly idea strike them in a few years?
2. I think you have it spot on. Photography, even in film days, was driven by the vast amateur market rather than the tiny pro one. Advances were made as time went by, and on the whole, they were more about refinements in mainly similar body types and lens quality. There was always the rich amateur and the pro with the turnover and taxable income better spent by him than by his wasteful government, so new cameras were being bought, even if only new ones of the same model.
I can't remember reading any news about Nikon etc. being in trouble back then; only after digital came in and the 'need' for constant upgrades was accepted as an industry norm, do we see these sales figures giving rise for doubts for the future health of camera companies.
Every camera maker makes too many models. There's no real need for it; it just strikes me as a desperate ploy by which to knock out the competition and hog the market. That's simply a case of assured mutual destruction. Leica got it right, and making class products for those who can afford them is a clever and simple idea. Just like Rolex and the rest of them in Geneva, they know the rich will always be with us, and if not, all is lost anyhow - for all of us.
Too much supply will kill off manufacturers as surely as it has many, many photographers' businesses, mine included. A fight to the bottom is hopeless - get out while you can with what dignity you can muster.