Storm Brewing Over M8 LCD Issue

Some folks have reported that Leica can (or will) no longer repair LCDs on the M8 (and assumably variants like the M8.2 and "M8u"). Leica has said that they no longer have the spare parts available. Naturally, there's quite a storm brewing among all the M8 shooters out there.

The response from Leica to a recent service request:

If the LCD monitor needs to be replaced Leica AG or Leica Camera Inc., no longer have parts to replace the monitor.

An "unofficial" response from JJ Viau (Leica Camera AG, Internet Marketing on August 28, 2012):

hello there,
this is JJ with Leica. I am with you that Leica products ought to be serviceable as long as possible. This is easier done for lenses as for digital cameras though. We are very sorry that we are not able to meet your legitimate expectations with the M8. In that spirit, we have developed a service upgrade program allowing you to upgrade to a M9 at a premium which depends on the age of your defective M8 and even includes a free upgrade within the warranty time. This program is active, so please contact your local customer service should you encounter technical issues with your M8´s display.
The issue is specific to the M8. The M9 uses a different display for which we took care of long time availability for service replacements.
I hope this brings a bit of clarity in the matter.
Best regards from Solms, JJ

The cost to upgrade your M8 to an M9 is approximately €2,500.- ($3,100 USD) but as noted above, subject to exact age/model.

Stefan Daniel (Leica Camera AG, Director Product Management) issued an official response from Leica on the matter the following day (August 29, 2012):

As promised yesterday by JJ, please let me state our position about the serviceability of the M8 and M8.2 Display.

First of all, we are very sorry, that some of you encountered issues with your cameras. It remains our aim to find the very best solutions to satisfy you. Please let me give you some more information and details on the display issue.

The cameras with a display problem stay operational, image quality and the main functions are not affected.
The effect only occurs on a single production lot of displays, both built into M8 and M8.2.
The serial number of the camera doesn’t give information about the lot of the display.

The lot in question was pulled out of service stock as soon as we have recognized the issue.

Meanwhile the manufacturer of the LCD displays had stopped production, in general these parts have a very short life cycle and Leica did not have a possibility for additional production. As the display and the rest of the electronics are linked very much together, it was not possible to create a repair solution up to our quality requirements.

The display of the M9/M9-P is a different display and is sourced from another manufacturer and is therefore not affected. For the M9 as for all our products, we are taking measures that we are able to service the camera for a period of at least ten years after production will stop. In the case that (especially electronic-) parts are no longer available, we will offer an upgrade program. As you know, we have quite a history of being able to service our products for a period much longer than that!

The upgrade program will work with both a M9 or M9-P, with a slightly different premium. Please contact your local Leica Customer Care for details should you have concerns with your M8/M8.2 display.

Best regards from Solms,

Stefan Daniel, Director Product Management

Our fellow member Jaapv offers a synopsis of the whole situation - a sort of "perfect storm:"

What happened:
Leica did stock enough LCDs.
Then they switched supplier. Those LCDs need slightly different electronics and are not retro-compatible.
Then after about a year the coffeering problem emerged. Leica identified a faulty lot and pulled it from the service supply.
The discontinued LCD was no longer available so they could not resupply.
The replacement of coffeestain LCDs exhausted the supply further and finally they ran out.
I think it is not very likely that such a chain of events will repeat itself.