Perhaps you've never worked in a large company?
Try predicting what a fickle consumer will buy. Do this 18 months AHEAD of where the customer will be. That's about how long it'll take you to design, prototype, test, and put into manufacturing any new toy or gadget or camera or lens.
I'd be interested in your evidence that suggests Canon is any better at this than Sony. From my perspective I think Canon has more challenges ahead of it that does Sony.
We know how to consume. We know how to complain. We know how to be demanding.
Do we know how to understand what's really going on?
... And yes Sony is a stupid company look at how they have operated recently. As bad as Kodak was for under estimating the digital age, Sony have been just as poor over estimating consumption.
Yes I have worked in multiple large companies so I am aware of the challenges they face. I have also worked in industries that are a lot slower at adapting to changes than tech companies, as well as working at tech companies.
My statement was directed more towards sony's camera division rather than their sensor division. Sensors have a much broader market than just cameras.
You asked why Canon is better than Sony I would argue that their current market position and performance over the previous financial years shows a better understanding of the market. This may of course change going forward but we shall see.
Consumers in general are not that fickle, only small segments are. Canon certainly has challenges ahead but they are cash flow positive in the current economy that is a huge deal. FYI not every company can operate under debt permanently like the US government can.