Olympus sold 1.15 billion dollars in cameras in 2012, though obviously they had some severe management problems.
M43 when you combine Panasonic and Olympus sales are #3 behind Canon and Nikon and have twice the sales numbers of sony still cameras.
Sony has a retail reach, but Sony is all over the place in what they sell and what direction they go.
Sony is also the king of holding back features to move you up to the next highest model. Given they are smart and innovative, but every motion camera they sell is held back with features until you get into the very high range.
Where Sony goes with still photography is still a less than transparent business model. A series, E series, both? Who knows, but they obviously didn't make the breakthrough like they planned so to the the A7 is interesting, but doesn't have the complete usability of a lot of the competition.
At least with Paansonic for the money they didn't hobble their gh3, just the opposite and probably will turn the world around with the gh4 (at least for video) and Olympus makes no bones about making the best still camera they can for the money.
Honestly I'd love a larger sensor in the Olympus, but given my choice today over a A series sony or the OMD em-1, I'd take the olympus first because I know where they are going and m43 seems to have new lens offerings daily.
On target mostly.
I agree Sony has recently been doing this "cutting back" on entry models esp the A series ones (unimpressed with their cost cutting plastic mounts etc)
They do seem unfortunately to be trying to cobble lower end models more and more.
However I would have to give the king of crippling to Nikon. They are now the only maker to not offer wireless flash on the D3200/5300 models everyone else does (bar the EOS 100d), they also don't allow HSS on those models, again everyone else has had this for ages and ages. Nikon also cobble backwards compatibility on these models with no in body AF motor, and no metering for older lenses I've Minolta film bodies that can do that over a decade old
So let's put the real king of cut down crown where it really belongs!
The A mount from Sony is only interesting "if"
You acquire a bunch of good but very reasonably priced Minolta lenses (there are some very good ones at very silly cheap prices) and they will AF on all A Mount bodies (bar the SSM on older film models), a few ho hum ones out there, but most of them are actually very strong optically
Or you pick up a bunch of Tamron non stabilised glass again at good prices (think 90mm f2.8, 17-50mm, maybe the older 70-200mm f2.
and enjoy the IBIS for free without having to pay extra for in lens IS.
For bargain hunters A mount "can" be a compelling options, but unless you go down that road above I personally don't recommend A mount.
Sony do some good A mount lenses, they can make good optics. Problem is they are not cheaper than Canikon in some cases a bit more. Thus wasting the incentive of IBIS.
I believe this is one reason why Sony have not done as well as they expected, little reason for most to pick them over Canikon. But if you like Tamron glass and are ok with s/h purchases, you can build up quite a good system for a very modest outlay.
Micro 4/3 has it's point small being one, the lenses seem good and reasonably priced. I have to say I do like the Fuji X concept, though they have to iron out the issues and quirks still. Fuji's lack of proper flash is a real turn off though, no HSS, no wireless they need to address that big time. Hard choice for anyone starting from scratch. I personally don't care that much for NEX or E mount, I think you'd be better served lenses wise shoving A mount glass on there with an adaptor.
Problem for A Mount users is you have to buy that adaptor and it won't AF with screw drive lenses, the other one has the SLT mirror so you add the cost up and it's going to cost you more to buy a NEX with an adaptor you'd be better off with an A Mount body. You lose IBIS as well.