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Author Topic: Nikon in difficulty?  (Read 83201 times)

Cornfield

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #120 on: November 27, 2016, 05:21:57 am »

The options available to Nikon for a d810 successor sensor is/has been a major problem for Nikon.
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davidgp

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #121 on: November 27, 2016, 05:30:24 am »

The options available to Nikon for a d810 successor sensor is/has been a major problem for Nikon.

Why? Sony has a 42 megapixels sensor, I'm sure Nikon is able to do the same like they did to the 36 megapixels one and extract more dynamic range from it than Sony... Or they can talk to them to create a new customize one...


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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #122 on: November 27, 2016, 07:07:52 am »

The quality of one or two products has very little bearing on the health of a company as a whole.

Structurally and in terms of industry position, Nikon is in a precarious situation. All it takes is one or two things to not go their way, or their competitors to make moves against them, and they'd be in big trouble.

The only area where they are potentially more exposed than Canon today is sensor, correct? Would we agree that, if a D820/D900 is releases within a few months with best in class sensor, then they will emerge overall as being less in trouble than Canon?

If not, what else would it take?

Cheers,
Bernard

Bo_Dez

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #123 on: November 27, 2016, 07:18:38 am »

I've almost bought an 810 but am holding off buying (well any camera at the moment) to see what Nikon does with the its successor and it is quite possible I am going to switch to Nikon, at least in part.

I'm interested in a few different options at the moment but the Nikon 810 and/or its successor is very tempting.

Sensor wise, it's possible it will use the next generation Sony unit with the much rumoured Sony a9, perhaps being somewhere in the vicinity of 70-80MP.

« Last Edit: November 27, 2016, 07:40:42 am by Bo_Dez »
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shadowblade

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #124 on: November 27, 2016, 09:32:34 am »

The only area where they are potentially more exposed than Canon today is sensor, correct? Would we agree that, if a D820/D900 is releases within a few months with best in class sensor, then they will emerge overall as being less in trouble than Canon?

If not, what else would it take?

Cheers,
Bernard

Not at all.

Even an exceptional sensor wouldn't particularly help. Having a good sensor doesn't give you an advantage in the game - it's merely a prerequisite to being in the game at all (which is why Canon was never really in the high-resolution, high-IQ game after Exmor raised the bar). Only if the new sensor is so much better than Sony's next-generation sensor that they're not even on the same playing field would it make a difference. The problem isn't the quality of the sensor - it's the supply chain. Nikon is extraordinary vulnerable here. Other companies can make low-resolution, high-ISO sensors, but all the sensors out there which combine high resolution, high DR and high ISO capability in the one sensor are made by Sony or Sony-controlled companies. Nikon has no capacity to make sensors itself - it can only design them for others to make, and, thus far, hasn't come up with a design to match Exmor for high-resolution bodies. And I doubt they have the capacity to suddenly open up a production line and gain the technical expertise needed to build sensors in the volume required for commercial sales. It's an extraordinarily vulnerable lifeline that they're reliant upon.

As for the 42MP Sony sensor, that's not a significant improvement over the 36MP. The A7r2 was a huge improvement over the original A7r, but the sensor wasn't the reason. A Nikon D820 with the Sony 42MP sensor would be barely better than the D810, since the D810 is already competent in terms of AF and other features; even if they added the D5's AF system and other features from the D5 and D500, it would only make a big difference to a small number of users. Those who current use the D810 aren't using it to shoot fast action. If they used the rumoured, next-generation 70-80MP sensor, that would be a major upgrade for its primary purpose, but I doubt Sony would sell it to them until they got first use out of it in their new body.

In a lot of ways, Sigma is in a much better strategic position than Nikon at the moment. So is Carl-Zeiss. And they barely even make cameras.
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shadowblade

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #125 on: November 27, 2016, 09:36:32 am »

There is far too much emphasis here on the quality of individual cameras or lenses, as if that were the main determinant of a company's strategic position. Producing a good product at a competitive price point (or an average product but dramatically undercutting everyone else) is merely a prerequisite for being in the running at all. But other factors - supply chains, production capability, cash reserves, patents, R&D capacity and the like - are far more relevant in determining the strength of a company's position.
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davidgp

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #126 on: November 27, 2016, 02:38:52 pm »

As for the 42MP Sony sensor, that's not a significant improvement over the 36MP. The A7r2 was a huge improvement over the original A7r, but the sensor wasn't the reason. A Nikon D820 with the Sony 42MP sensor would be barely better than the D810, since the D810 is already competent in terms of AF and other features; even if they added the D5's AF system and other features from the D5 and D500, it would only make a big difference to a small number of users. Those who current use the D810 aren't using it to shoot fast action. If they used the rumoured, next-generation 70-80MP sensor, that would be a major upgrade for its primary purpose, but I doubt Sony would sell it to them until they got first use out of it in their new body.

Considering that the part is Sony that makes the sensor and the part that builds the camera at Sony are two different subcompanies from Sony I wouldn't be surprise if Nikon has access to the sensor earlier... The 36mpx sensor was released in a Nikon body before a Sony body...  Like Phase ONE having access to the 100MPx sensor months before any other company... It will depend on what Nikon is willing to pay...

davidgp

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #127 on: November 27, 2016, 02:43:58 pm »

In a lot of ways, Sigma is in a much better strategic position than Nikon at the moment. So is Carl-Zeiss. And they barely even make cameras.

Zeiss isn't really making a lot of money in their lenses, their main business is industrial and medical equipment... They already said in some interviews if it was for money probably the best way will be to close that very low profitable lens division... They say they do it because it is in their DNA... Not sure if the t was just marketing, but probably if the division enter into losses it may be closed... Anyway, I read they are doing well with their loxia and batis lines...

Telecaster

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #128 on: November 27, 2016, 05:03:14 pm »

Zeiss has viewed their commercial lens offerings as mainly marketing and prestige for a long time now, since the end of the '70s at least. Though some of the R&D may feed back into their medical/industrial lineups too.

-Dave-
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shadowblade

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #129 on: November 27, 2016, 05:04:41 pm »

Considering that the part is Sony that makes the sensor and the part that builds the camera at Sony are two different subcompanies from Sony I wouldn't be surprise if Nikon has access to the sensor earlier... The 36mpx sensor was released in a Nikon body before a Sony body...  Like Phase ONE having access to the 100MPx sensor months before any other company... It will depend on what Nikon is willing to pay...

Yes, they're two separate companies, but that doesn't mean they don't cooperate on strategy. The Sony bosses would never let that happen.

The 36MP sensor was released in a Nikon body first because Sony wasn't ready to launch a competitor in 2012. They had a sensor, no way to effectively use it themselves, but a willing customer. Even at the end of 2013, it was barely ready with the A7r (which was pretty much a great sensor stuck to a rudimentary body). The situation is completely different now - Sony is a big player in non-action camera bodies, has every reason to use the sensor themselves and keep all their best non-medium format sensors for their own use and can make Nikon pay through the nose for it, since they can't get the sensor from anyone else. Nikon would have to do Sony's bidding and pay whatever Sony wants for it, since they have no other options. Which means that Sony can allow them to live for a few more years, or shut them out of a large chunk of the camera business if they feel the A9 or A7r3 is ready to compete directly with Nikon.

Same thing with the 100MP sensor. Sony is in no position to use it themselves (having no MF lenses available) but there was a willing customer out there, who sell products that aren't particularly price-conscious, so they can charge whatever they like for it.

Zeiss isn't really making a lot of money in their lenses, their main business is industrial and medical equipment... They already said in some interviews if it was for money probably the best way will be to close that very low profitable lens division... They say they do it because it is in their DNA... Not sure if the t was just marketing, but probably if the division enter into losses it may be closed... Anyway, I read they are doing well with their loxia and batis lines...

Their industrial and medical equipment requires a lot of precision-ground lenses. So, yes, they're making a lot of money out of lenses. Just not necessarily from interchangeable camera lenses.

When you're already in the business of producing precision optical equipment for other purposes, having a side-business of developing camera gear costs very little resource-wise and gives them a name-brand recognition that's hard to get from scientific and commercial equipment alone. And that name recognition drives sales in other areas, e.g. optics for camera phones.
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davidgp

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #130 on: November 27, 2016, 05:28:18 pm »

Yes, they're two separate companies, but that doesn't mean they don't cooperate on strategy. The Sony bosses would never let that happen.

The 36MP sensor was released in a Nikon body first because Sony wasn't ready to launch a competitor in 2012. They had a sensor, no way to effectively use it themselves, but a willing customer. Even at the end of 2013, it was barely ready with the A7r (which was pretty much a great sensor stuck to a rudimentary body). The situation is completely different now - Sony is a big player in non-action camera bodies, has every reason to use the sensor themselves and keep all their best non-medium format sensors for their own use and can make Nikon pay through the nose for it, since they can't get the sensor from anyone else. Nikon would have to do Sony's bidding and pay whatever Sony wants for it, since they have no other options. Which means that Sony can allow them to live for a few more years, or shut them out of a large chunk of the camera business if they feel the A9 or A7r3 is ready to compete directly with Nikon.

Same thing with the 100MP sensor. Sony is in no position to use it themselves (having no MF lenses available) but there was a willing customer out there, who sell products that aren't particularly price-conscious, so they can charge whatever they like for it.

Maybe I'm wrong... But the actual 24 megapixels chip being used in the majority of asp-c cameras released this year wasn't released first on the Fuji x-pro 2 camera before the a6300?

shadowblade

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #131 on: November 27, 2016, 05:52:23 pm »

Maybe I'm wrong... But the actual 24 megapixels chip being used in the majority of asp-c cameras released this year wasn't released first on the Fuji x-pro 2 camera before the a6300?

Both came out in March.

Regardless, the APS-C 24MP sensor is hardly Sony's flagship sensor (not counting MF sensors, which exist in a completely different realm) and the turnover rate for APS-C  models is high. Sony probably doesn't  particularly care who gets first go with those sensors, since there's little advantage to being first with those models. Basically, APS-C sensors are a continuous income stream, not part of the greater strategic contest between Sony, Canon and Nikon.

Not so with flagship FF sensors, which have a 3- to 4-year product cycle and go into bodies designed to be the veat of the best in what they do. Given that Sony, Nikon and Pentax are the only game in town with regards to high-resolution, high-IQ, high-DR full-frame bodies, and all of them are reliant on Sony sensors, Sony would be stupid to let Nikon get their hands on the sensor before they had the chance to release it first and gain market share. Or, even better, cooperate with Metabones to bring out a top-tier, Nikon-compatible adapter, or release a Nikon-lens-compatible version of the A9 themselves. Basically, let Nikon's camera division wither at the vine while Sony grabs its market share, leaving their valuable lens and optics division ripe for a cheap takeover when Nikon becomes weak from sales losses.
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bassman51

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #132 on: November 27, 2016, 07:41:14 pm »

In the fiscal year ending March 2016, Sony made $776m in the business unit that makes sensors, and $456m in the camera division.  So the sensor business, today, is more important to Sony than the camera business. 

In the companies that I've worked for, the camera business would have to demonstrate that they can make more money than the sensor business would loose if they declined to sell to Nikon.  Further, the camera business would have to demonstrate that by agreeing to pay the sensor business at least some of the profits that the latter would loose by declining to sell to Nikon.  So while I think Nikon is indeed in a lousy competitive and strategic position for many reasons, I'd be surprised if Sony just cut them off.  The sensor business is obviously better positioned if they have many customers over the long term - Nikon and Sony included - that if the Sony camera business becomes more important to them.  After all, Nikon still sells more cameras than Sony, and might just continue to maintain that market share.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #133 on: November 27, 2016, 08:58:45 pm »

I cannot help but feel a huge disconnect btwn this discussion and what photography and cameras are about... which I think remains to make the best possible images.

To me cameras with the best sensor, the best AF, the best lenses, the best ergonomics,... helps photographers more than cameras with lesser sensors/AF/lenses/ergonomics... and still help put a company producing the better performing equipment in a strong competitive situation, whatever rethorics you wrap your arguments with.

Cheers,
Bernard

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #134 on: November 28, 2016, 12:56:23 am »

In the fiscal year ending March 2016, Sony made $776m in the business unit that makes sensors, and $456m in the camera division.  So the sensor business, today, is more important to Sony than the camera business. 

In the companies that I've worked for, the camera business would have to demonstrate that they can make more money than the sensor business would loose if they declined to sell to Nikon.  Further, the camera business would have to demonstrate that by agreeing to pay the sensor business at least some of the profits that the latter would loose by declining to sell to Nikon.  So while I think Nikon is indeed in a lousy competitive and strategic position for many reasons, I'd be surprised if Sony just cut them off.  The sensor business is obviously better positioned if they have many customers over the long term - Nikon and Sony included - that if the Sony camera business becomes more important to them.  After all, Nikon still sells more cameras than Sony, and might just continue to maintain that market share.

I would be curious to see what percentage of the tidy profit generated by the sensor division came from Nikon. I would be surprised if it was that significant.

Be sad to see Nikon fail, that's for sure. I have used Nikon on and off over many years. I don't currently own any Nikon gear and have no plans to buy any but competition helps us all.

Sony is looking very strong at the moment. I just sold off every scrap of Canon gear I had and bought a second hand A6000 and now an A6300. I make all my money from photography. Have done since I turned 14. Products mostly. Catalogue work. Some architecture. I shoot landscape and street photography for fun. My clients don't care what I shoot on as long as they get the image they need. The little Sonys are great and are way better for the day to day grunt work of shooting thousands of products than the DSLR's ever were. I think these mirrorles cameras are the most disruptive thing I have seen since I went digital in 19996.  If Canon and Nikon don't get with the program I think they will die.

Having said that I'm not about to get rid of my Cambo with the 80MP back. I like shooting on that but make no money from it anymore. A bit overkill for Instagram I would say
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shadowblade

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #135 on: November 28, 2016, 01:01:45 am »

In the fiscal year ending March 2016, Sony made $776m in the business unit that makes sensors, and $456m in the camera division.  So the sensor business, today, is more important to Sony than the camera business. 

In the companies that I've worked for, the camera business would have to demonstrate that they can make more money than the sensor business would loose if they declined to sell to Nikon.  Further, the camera business would have to demonstrate that by agreeing to pay the sensor business at least some of the profits that the latter would loose by declining to sell to Nikon.  So while I think Nikon is indeed in a lousy competitive and strategic position for many reasons, I'd be surprised if Sony just cut them off.  The sensor business is obviously better positioned if they have many customers over the long term - Nikon and Sony included - that if the Sony camera business becomes more important to them.  After all, Nikon still sells more cameras than Sony, and might just continue to maintain that market share.

Not 'declined to sell to Nikon'. Just 'declined to sell their best sensor'. Keep the best one, then sell the second-best or previous-generation model to others.

The decision is strategic, not financial. Every company does this. Make a bit more money that year but continue to prop up a competitor, or make a bit less but seriously weaken a rival and possibly make them ripe for a takeover?

For Sony, there's also a third option, which falls halfway in between.

The second best sensor is still better than anything Nikon can get elsewhere. They'd still have to buy it if that was all that was on offer. It would be competitive against anything but the latest Sony sensor. End result? Sony keeps gaining market share over Nikon, while continuing to sell them second-line sensors.

At any point in time, there will be a fixed number of people in the market for a high-resolution, high-DR full-frame camera. The three choices out there are Nikon, Sony or Pentax. If they don't buy one, they're likely to buy the other, not just buy nothing. Most sales lost by Nikon and Pentax for no longer having access to the best sensor will go to Sony. There's a barrier to changing systems, but not an insurmountable one, as seen with Canon shooters and Metabones adapters. So, one lost sensor sale to Nikon will likely mean one gained camera (including sensor) sale by Sony. But a lot of this will depend on the non-sensor performance of the A9. If Sony thinks they can fall into the same ballpark as the D810 successor, they'd  be silly to supply the new sensor to Nikon instead of coming out with a body that beats Nikon sensorwise and equals them in all other areas. The latter would earn them far more converts and allow them to gain market share.

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davidgp

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #136 on: November 28, 2016, 02:40:03 am »

In the companies that I've worked for, the camera business would have to demonstrate that they can make more money than the sensor business would loose if they declined to sell to Nikon.  Further, the camera business would have to demonstrate that by agreeing to pay the sensor business at least some of the profits that the latter would loose by declining to sell to Nikon.  So while I think Nikon is indeed in a lousy competitive and strategic position for many reasons, I'd be surprised if Sony just cut them off.  The sensor business is obviously better positioned if they have many customers over the long term - Nikon and Sony included - that if the Sony camera business becomes more important to them.  After all, Nikon still sells more cameras than Sony, and might just continue to maintain that market share.


Sony is making the majority of their money in sensors from mobile phones ( http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com.es/2016/06/sony-reduces-image-sensor-sales-and.html ) than cameras... They will be more worried if Samsung or Apple stop buying their sensors than Nikon...

Saying that... For me the sensor division has to be careful not to angry any costumer... There was already rumors that Canon may be starting selling their sensors to third parties... And I think it was the company that releases the sensors Leica... They just releases to the market a full frame sensor of 48 megapixels with global shutter... Probably more thinking in RED or Alexa video cameras but maybe attract the attention of other camera markets...


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shadowblade

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #137 on: November 28, 2016, 03:36:32 am »

I cannot help but feel a huge disconnect btwn this discussion and what photography and cameras are about... which I think remains to make the best possible images.

To me cameras with the best sensor, the best AF, the best lenses, the best ergonomics,... helps photographers more than cameras with lesser sensors/AF/lenses/ergonomics... and still help put a company producing the better performing equipment in a strong competitive situation, whatever rethorics you wrap your arguments with.

Cheers,
Bernard

The topic isn't whether Nikom makes good cameras, or even how many of those cameras it can sell. The topic was whether Nikon, as a company, is in difficulty, or in an otherwise precarious position. That has very little to do with the quality of its cameras, compared with issues regarding finances, supply chain and other factors.

Quality of cameras, while interesting, has little bearing on this (as long as they're up to a certain, evolving standard).
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #138 on: November 28, 2016, 04:56:49 am »

The topic isn't whether Nikom makes good cameras, or even how many of those cameras it can sell. The topic was whether Nikon, as a company, is in difficulty, or in an otherwise precarious position. That has very little to do with the quality of its cameras, compared with issues regarding finances, supply chain and other factors.

Quality of cameras, while interesting, has little bearing on this (as long as they're up to a certain, evolving standard).

Well, I disagree. Nikon's problems have everything to do with the quality of the cameras and lenses they did or did not produce 5, 3 and 1 year ago.

Quality defined as their ability to various needs of photographers. Sorry, no more time today on this.

Cheers,
Bernard

shadowblade

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Re: Nikon in difficulty?
« Reply #139 on: November 28, 2016, 06:27:45 am »

Well, I disagree. Nikon's problems have everything to do with the quality of the cameras and lenses they did or did not produce 5, 3 and 1 year ago.

Quality defined as their ability to various needs of photographers. Sorry, no more time today on this.

Cheers,
Bernard

So, let's just say Nikon had the best camera at the best price point in the market 5, 3 and 1 year ago, with everything else remaining the same.

They'd still be in the same situation. They still wouldn't be able to produce a sensor on their own. They'd still be completely reliant on Sony and Sony subsidiaries for their high-resolution/high DR sensors - Sony could still just turn off the tap and they'd be in a world of trouble. The would still be competing for market share in a shrinking market, unable to supply anything to anyone other than non-smartphone photographers - they have no sensors to sell to phone manufacturers, don't make lenses for anyone other than Nikon cameras and other Nikon products and don't produce much of anything apart from stills cameras (whose market is shrinking) and a bit of technical equipment.

Meanwhile, look at Sony, who, ten years ago, didn't even have a real stills cameras business to speak of (point-and-shoots notwithstanding). What they did have was cash reserves, other income streams and control over their supply chains (i.e. they could develop and produce it themselves). Now they've taken over several other companies' camera/imaging divisions and have several others (Nikon, Pentax, Phase One, etc.) essentially beholden to them, as well as a booming business making sensors for the non-photographic technical and smartphone markets.

Dedicated still-photography cameras are a shrinking market. If you can't offer a product that works for other things and ties into your camera business (e.g. Sony's sensors and their use in phones, video and other gear, or Zeiss' optics), you're either going to become a niche player (like Leica) or die. And, in the consumer electronics sector, niche players are really only a small step above dead, since they lack the scale to innovate at the level of the big players.

Nikon is too big and has too much overhead to become a niche player. Their best bet is to expand on their optics capabilities, produce high-end lenses for every other mount out there (as well as for phones, security equipment and everything else which needs a lens) and generally act as a rival to Zeiss. They do a bit of that already, making medical lenses, rifle scopes, binoculars and the like. But their camera business is so vulnerable to competitors' moves at many different points of development and production that to rely on that as their core business is to bet the company on the goodwill of their competitors.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2016, 08:37:20 am by shadowblade »
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