Leica Camera AG To Be Sold to US Company [Update: April Fool!]
Leica doesn’t come to ease: The success of the Solms based company has stirred desire in the US, leading to a take over of the German camera manufacturer by Disney, Burbank.
How The Story Started: Leicas Call Home
It sounds like a thriller how we found about this deal: First hints of a forum member about hidden features of Leica products led to a mysterious website. After cracking the code we found shocking evidence about the sales of the last German camera maker to the US American entertainment company. Official sources in Solms deny, but evidence proves that the merger was prepared well in advance.
Leica Forum Exclusive: The Leica Disney Deal Revealed
Carl Bretteville (forum member cbretteville) has proved his sniffer dog qualities in 2007 when he analyzed the Leica M8 meta data: Leica engineers in Solms were astonished how detailled his findings were. January this year Carl started a new project about the Leica M9. He noticed that his network traffic peaked when connecting the camera via USB to his computer. Carl contacted us via the forum if we knew anything about this phenomenon and if we have any explanation. We found the same pattern with other Leica cameras (Leica M8, D-LUX 6, X2) and continued to explore this issue.
Independently Carl and I found out that all cameras connected to a server with a mysterious web address:
Alarming Suspicion: Leica Firmware Hacked?
The first suspicion was: The Leica Firmware of several camera hacked – a horrible scenario! Thousands of cameras part of a spam-bot network? Abused as a spy tool, sending private images from around the world to a criminal organization? But one thing didn’t fit in this scenario: The German .de web domain. As a general rule command servers of hacker networks are located in East Europe or Asia, German domains are too easy to track down.
We accessed the yrvpn-pnzren.qvfarl.de server via an ordinary web browser on a prepared computer. What we found wasn’t what we expected: No forwarding to a virus infected Ukranian pharmacy shop but the log in form of a common blog software:
More research showed that this server was located in a German computing center and was registered anonymously.
The source code of the log in form brought up a new hint, the website’s title was „Get The Red Dot“. An organization on the hunt for Leica?
Who is yrvpn-pnzren.qvfarl?
This is something we really wanted to know: Who is behind this strange web address? Maybe the name itself was a hidden information? A friend of mine, an IT security expert, feeded the name “yrvpn-pnzren.qvfarl” into a decoding software, normally used to crack passwords by brute computing force. For a password of average security this software would need about 2 to 3 days. We started the process on Friday evening and hoped for a result on Monday.
But – surprise, surprise – we got the result not in days but in seconds! The name wasn’t MD5 encoded but used a primitive ROT13 code. But the biggest surprise was the result:
Disney and Leica? Not the most obvious partnership…
But what kind of relationship can this be – a special edition (Leica MM Mickey Mouse?), a cooperation or even more? We were quite sure to find the answer in the password protected blog.
Password „goofy“: The Secret Leica Disney Files
“Disney” gave us the crucial clue: After “mickeymouse” and “donaldduck” our third guess “goofy” turned out to be the right password.
What we found on that blog, shocked us deeply: Apparently the take over of Leica Camera by Disney is a already a fact, including press releases, press photos and mock-ups of a new product range.
New Products: Leica Ducksborough Style
This reveals the last special editions like the Leica X2 Paul Smith in a different light: These were perhaps the first tests by the Leica marketing research, how to sell Leica products to target groups grown up with Snow White, Bambi, Pocahontas and Arielle.
Apparently the Leica M drafts are still under consideration, but the mock-ups promise the worst. Disney seems not to be afraid to wreck the iconic Leica design by Mickey Mouse elements:
One designer’s comment demonstrates that the reasons not to offer a Leica X2 Smurf are legal reasons (the Smurfs belong to a Belgian company) but not the respect for the Leica brand:
But the attempt to wow young photographers for Leica products is a great idea in our eyes:
Disney World Wetzlar
The plans’ absolute low-point is to rename the new “Leitz Park” to “Disney World Wetzlar”! And the blog reveals discussions if the area will be used as production site or will become a theme park.
Leica – Quo Vadis?
Every Leica fan must be shocked by these news: The icon of German engineering art in the hands of an US entertainment enterprise. But we should give this cooperation a chance: At first glimpse the target groups of Leica and Disney don’t fit. But both brands stand for iconic masterpieces of the 20th century. Why shouldn’t joined technical and creative forces bring up a new pictorial language for the new century?
And the Leica Forum?
Of course we will accompany how things evolve in Solms, Wetzlar and from now on in Burbank. Our first step will be to check all Leica products how deep the cooperation already influenced the product development.
The photo on the right side proves that Disney was already involved into the Leica Monochrom development. If you press the Menu button for 17-18 seconds and immediately after that the Play button a Disney promotion screen shows up.
Please check your cameras if more hidden “features” were built into your gear!
- Can you find more key stroke combinations leading to Disney ads?
- Suspicious files on your memory cards?
- Artefacts or color shift in your images resulting in Disney style photos?
Please post your results in the Leica Forum!
Say Hello To Burbank!
In my opinion we – as the community of Leica owners – should also send a positive signal to the new Leica owners in Burbank. We have prepared a handicraft instruction for a Leica Disney welcome set:
- Download template
- Print out
- Cut out and fix it to a headband
- Shoot your photo and post it in the Leica forum!
We’ll combine all images to a big mashup and present it to the new Leica management
We need your support!