AfterDawn: Tech news

R.I.P Eastman Kodak

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 05 Jan 2012 1:16 User comments (15)

R.I.P Eastman Kodak According to the WSJ, Eastman Kodak will head into bankruptcy protection in the next few weeks, ending their long and horrendous tumble from the top.
Following the news, the company's shares fell to 0.46 cents, it's lowest ever. The share price values the company at just $126 million, well below the value of their assets and patents. In 1997, the company had a market value of $31 billion, before the revolution of digital photography began. The company has not had a profit since early 2007 and has been hemorrhaging money.

Eastman Kodak, which released the world's first consumer camera in 1888, is still looking to sell off some of its patent portfolio and a successful deal would keep the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company has 1100 very valuable photography and digital photography patents and internally they value the portfolio at around $2 billion. Clearly, other companies do not agree.

Despite inventing the digital camera in 1975, the company never capitalized on it, instead sticking to their film business, which has all but disappeared and had already begun shrinking in the 1990s.

Nowadays, the company sells commercial printers. The move has not proved viable as EK has only taken a 2.6 percent market share, globally.

In bankruptcy, the company is not likely to fire any of its 19,000 employees, but it will look to slash pension and health-care costs for retirees, which cost the company over $300 million per year.

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15 user comments

15.1.2012 1:29

What a shame, I was loyal to Kodak brand even till the end, I can't say it was the top high end, but they definitely made good quality cameras and I don't have one that doesn't work.

25.1.2012 3:46

All well...maybe they will release the locked firmware for my camera now. My next camera was going to be a canon anyway...their firmwares are locked, but not so hard that it is impossible to turn off the JPG compression.



35.1.2012 5:39

@killerbug

I have an Easyshare C813, any idea how I can disable JPEG compression on that? Or where to begin looking?

Seems I want to use higher resolution, the compression increase and the pictures look worse than low-res shots (which don't capture the desired detail)... AGHHHH American product managers with MBAs, who's MBA is in Foot Shooting, it appears.


PiLGRi/\/\

45.1.2012 6:03

I have not found many options for hacking any Kodak models...the Canons are hacked en mass, but the Kodaks usually don't even get the OEM firmware updates that they need so desperately.



55.1.2012 8:18

:( Oh well, cheers for taking the time to reply.


PiLGRi/\/\

65.1.2012 8:56

The times are a changing.

75.1.2012 10:18

This is precisely what happens when a company becomes overly complacent in their product line and their business plan.

Seriously, Kodak cameras are so ghetto compared to .................well...............anything. Even Olympus. They're not innovative and their cameras aren't well constructed and attractive. Kodak has lagged behind the times and seemingly pinched every penny to avoid necessary expenditures to stay current.

It's sad they're going down as jobs will be lost eventually and economies slumped as a result but this is what's to be expected from American business.

Look at the hurt American car manufacturers had to go through from foreign auto makers before making changes. Shame!

85.1.2012 12:35

EK rested on their laurels through film sales alone. Camera sales were a luxury & after thought. It's kind of like thinking if Ford build a car then buying Ford oil must be a no brainer. It was an old marketing scheme from long ago.

It's kind of like saying an actor makes a good film director or a musician make a good sound engineer (hold your water haters), it only happens in very rare occasions that you get people that can do both... WELL!

EK obviously knew more than early on that they needed to step up their game, but chose not to. Or better still, greedily, maniacally proprietize the shit out of their technology & ran themselves out of the game.

Few other companies might want to take notice of this history lesson as well, for their fate won't be as long lived.


95.1.2012 13:19

The list of mistakes Kodak made in the 90s and early 2000s where so numerous it is hard to know where to start.
1. Moving away from pushing picture quality and standards, into trying to push cheap point and shoot cameras
2. Advantix: Probably the best point and shoot consumer film every made, but why invest millions or more into a new film format that of course required new proprietary hardware at the end of what was clearly the slow death of film for home use. the initial cameras released were low quality and overpriced and it even cost more to develop the pictures.
3. Not embracing digital. Kodak could have taken its decades/century of experience and worked to push the envelope of quality and standards with digital media. They instead left it to the competition hoping people would just keep buying film.
4. Complacency to push and innovate in dieing media types.

105.1.2012 13:22

Originally posted by ddaring:
The list of mistakes Kodak made in the 90s and early 2000s where so numerous it is hard to know where to start.
1. Moving away from pushing picture quality and standards, into trying to push cheap point and shoot cameras
2. Advantix: Probably the best point and shoot consumer film every made, but why invest millions or more into a new film format that of course required new proprietary hardware at the end of what was clearly the slow death of film for home use. the initial cameras released were low quality and overpriced and it even cost more to develop the pictures.
3. Not embracing digital. Kodak could have taken its decades/century of experience and worked to push the envelope of quality and standards with digital media. They instead left it to the competition hoping people would just keep buying film.
4. Complacency to push and innovate in dieing media types.
All these. You forgot to mention that starting in early 2000s, instead of innovating, they decided to take the route of "let's sue for patent violations" which has obviously run out. Starting a commercial printer business was just the icing on the dumb cake.

115.1.2012 13:34
llongtheD
Inactive

It's surprising that they invented the digital camera, and never became a real player in the market. This has been a long time coming.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Jan 2012 @ 13:36

125.1.2012 13:59

Originally posted by ddaring:
Complacency to push and innovate in dieing media types.
But don't get too comfortable in the new media... meaning, if the lights go out, what'll we do then (think worst possible case scenario). It'd be nice to know I can still grab a few rolls of 400 Tri-X off a pharmacy shelf somewhere, some starter in one bucket & another bucket of water next to it at least get something developed.

135.1.2012 20:27

my kodak polaroid had a great relationship with my girlfriends in the 1980's. nudge nudge wink wink
I wish I kept those pics.

145.1.2012 20:31

ronatola, polaroid is a seperate company from kodak just like ford & gm.

155.1.2012 20:33

Originally posted by ddp:
ronatola, polaroid is a seperate company from kodak just like ford & gm.
Oh well - screw-em then!

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