Why would Canon feel compelled to rush into the high megapixel market when it's pretty much been a flop for Nikon and Sony?
In what sense is it a flop?
My understanding is the D800[E] is intended to serve a niche market of high end studio and landscape. Therefore I wouldn't measure it's success by comparing units sold to the 5Dmk3.
Agree. Why is it a flop?? Either for Nikon or Sony??
Cause its for a niche market.
Being a professional photographer is a niche market in itself, to be a niche within a niche... not really a successful business plan.
Going straight to the end of your post, if Nikon made a profit on the D800 (and whatever lenses & other equipment it wouldn't have sold otherwise, e.g. by getting customers who would have otherwise bought an MF camera), then it's a success.
And that's the bottom line, success for any Company is about wether or not the Product has generated Profits.
I don't know as I'm not privy to Nikon'd detailed P&L, but I'de be very surprised to find that the D800 hasn't been a financial success for nikon. From what I can perceive on the interment (dangerous), Nikon intend to bring in a D4x sometime early 2014, that would at least cement the fact that Nikon find the 36MP Sensor a success for them.
I owned a D800, purchased primarily as an Underwater replacement for my 5DMK II, I kept it 12 months & sold it along with the lenses I'de purchased, for me it wasn't that big an advantage over the 5DMK III considering what I felt were some inherent disadvantages (Menu system, horrible 105 Macro), so I currently use the 5DMK III and it works well.
The Sony a7r is another 36MP Body that is worth looking at over the coming year or 2, I recently purchased one, again to see wether or not the 36MP Sensor in a smaller form body could replace my 5DMK III for underwater Imaging, like it, don't like the EVF, time will tell, but I think Sony have a potential winner here, the Market at the moment seems to reflect that, the a7r is selling well, it certainly can't be considered a "flop" at this point, the opposite could be the case, but again, time will tell.
The High MP Market is becoming more competitive, a year ago it was Nikon & the D800, now we have Sony and the a7r, I would be very surprised if Canon didn't get into this Market, my best guess would be a Body +/- 40MP in 2014, probably a Pro 1 Body.
This high MP Market shouldn't be confused with medium format and the likes of Phase One, that's a whole different ballgame.