It's no great secret that Olympus' chief designer Yoshihisa Maitani was a huge fan of Leica rangefinders; the Leica design-cues in the OM-1 are there for all to see, including the overall dimensions and the front-mounted rewind-release. When Olympus unveiled the 'Olympus M-1' at Fotokina in '72, it seems very clear to me that they were deliberately pinging a proverbial elastic band at the back of Leica's head to attract their attention. Attract it they did, with Leica threatening to sue Olympus if they didn't rebrand the camera as something other than 'M-1'. As a result the OM-1 was born, following a short production of 'M'-branded cameras and matching ancillaries that now fetch collectors' prices. The rest is history. Leica's existing SLR at the time was the Leicaflex SL, which was four years old, big, heavy, and clunky. It seemed about as much in tune with the design philosophy of a Leica 'M' rangefinder as a garbage truck is in tune with the design philosophy of a Ferrari. Just about everyone at Leica must have seen the Olympus M-1 and thought, "That's basically what our SLR should look like. How did we f--k it up quite so much?" (in German). However, let's imagine a scenario where instead of pinging an elastic band at the head of the mighty German giant saying "this is how you should have done it", Olympus had actually approached Leica at the design stage and said 'how about a deal?'. The partnership could have been either that Leica licensed the design rights and intellectual property rights for the M-series SLRs from Olympus to produce Leica M SLRs in-house, or they paid Olympus to manufacture the cameras as Leicas under licence at Olympus' factory, and ether way both companies shared the profits. Irrespective of how the deal could have panned out, Olympus surely would have benefitted from the cash it would bring. They were not established big players in the full-frame SLR market: up to that point they had only dabbled half-heartedly by launching the Olympus FTL in '71, which no in-house designer has ever publicly admitted responsibility for, including Maitani. And prior to that their most serious efforts with interchangeable lens SLRs had all been half frame. If Olympus had secretly been hoping to attract the interest/investment from Leica, probably their only big mistake was previewing the completed and fully-branded M-1 at such a public event as Fotokina. I'm sure there were far more discrete ways they could have privately approached Leica to establish likely interest, flaunting their miniature masterpiece as the SLR embodiment of everything that made the M-series great, less its awkward film-loading system, its daft placement of the ASA dial, and of course its rangefinder (which fair credit to Leica was excellent).