it's not unlike car transmissions.
Today there are plenty of options from excellent torque converter automatics, to dual clutch automated manuals, to single clutch automated manuals, to multi clutch plate autos. They are all excellent and do the job really really well and often are faster changing than any human could dream of. However, driving a manual transmission and getting it right, honing your skill is still an immense pleasure to many. Zeiss provides the user with the pleasure of something mechanical that's incredibly well engineered, designed, and built and the opportunity for the user to get it right himself.
You propose Zeiss could clean up the high end market. They already do. They don't have much competition. It's a small market. Zeiss already sells every lens they make. Sometimes it's not all about profit, sometimes it's about making more than enough, closing the doors for the day, go out and enjoy life.
You know, I've been a serious photographer for just over two years. Possibly a fraction from what the average is on this group. The only camera I used lots of before I got my DSLR was my beautiful Panasonic LX3. Manual focus?
But soon after I discovered I wanted to be a fashion photographer, a colleague suggested I try Zeiss lenses. I bought the Canon 28-135mm f3.5 lens that the guy who I bought my used Canon 50D from. I had also rented a Canon 24-105 f4 L and Canon 35mm f1.4L So this is where I started from.
The Zeiss was a revelation. I found out that I love contrasty images. Canon couldn't touch the bokeh of the Zeiss. The sharpness from the 35mm f1.4 Zeiss was un-touchable. Though in all fairness, the Zeiss is 50% more money than the Canon equivalent. Still, it's a superior lens.
Auto Focus. Never miss it. It does come in handy when shooting in mid-upper telephoto range. Which I rarely do. Hell, I shoot dancing events in MF. Works just fine.
I can totally understand when someone with poor eyesight would love or need AF. And that's okay. I don't get into these arguments on what's better or worse. What's important is what's best FOR YOU. And maybe that's Zeiss's philosophy too. They love what they do because they do it THEIR way. And not what the market wants. And that's how you should do your photography. Isn't it?