Canon sensor technology lags behind Sony's. This is one area in which Canon is lacking. Are there any other areas?snip....
I give canon 5 years before they pull out of camera development. The writing is on the wall, especially if they have no desire to make class leading products. at that end, whats the point?
Canon may find it difficult to manufacture sensors that rival's Sony's. This need not be a matter of desire. The cause is economic. Canon currently lacks the competitive advantages Sony enjoys with its sensor business. One would need a true "all things being equal" clause to claim that Canon lacks the desire to produce class leading cameras. But, things are unequal. Canon is conservative. It is not complacent and incompetent.
Sensible persons would hope that Canon can improve the technology in its sensors and in the making of its sensors. There are few benefits for consumers when one company has a monopoly in a key component.
That said, I doubt Canon would abandon its camera development business. Why would it? What may happen is Canon may choose to use Sony sensors in its FF cameras. Why would it make this choice? A key reason: The costs of developing sensors could become so great and Sony's advantages so significant that competing with Sony in processor development would be uneconomic for Canon -- which is to say, unprofitable. If that point were to come, Canon would act irrationally if it attempted to compete with Sony. This situation is common. In the past, DEC, Motorola and HP abandoned computer processor development. It is not as though they failed to produce innovative products. They did. Rather, the economics of the situation favored Intel because Intel produced processors for a commodity product, personal computers. Intel had economies of scale the others lacked. It had the massive revenue stream needed to build fabs, to take risks, etc. Intel became the leading oligopoly provider of CPUs.
Sony, thanks to the expertise in and income from its cell phone businesses, now has a competitive advantage with respect to Canon, Nikon and other sensor chip makers. It remains to be seen whether Sony can translate this advantage into market share in full frame cameras. It could, but consumers find system switches costly. It also remains to be seen if Canon can improve its sensors to a degree needed to compete with Sony as an equal -- if only to preserve the expertise it has gained over the last half-century and to prevent Sony from becoming a monopoly provider of image sensors for FF and ASP-C cameras. Monopolies supress innovation.
Finally, Canon sensors continue to produce high-quality images in its cameras. We need to remind ourselves of this fact. Sony has not made Canon cameras obsolete. Camera sensors are a mature technology. The leader and the led are not so different that using Canon cameras is irrational. But, Sony is the leader. That's a fact.