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goodbye Kodak? « Previous | |Next »
January 10, 2012

According to the Wall Street Journal Eastman Kodak is readying its papers to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Kodak, based in Rochester, N.Y., claims to have invented digital photography in 1975 but it ceded that market to competitors such as Nikon, Sony and Canon. It hung onto its identity, film, and watched it fade before its eyes. Kodak has been trying to offload its patents--selling its intellectual property to avoid bankruptcy.

The general explanation for Kodak's corporate failure and demise is that, like Polaroid, it failed to adapt to rapidly changing business models and had fallen behind the technology curve. Its outdated model was outdated. Was this due to:

a failure to innovate; or
a failure to anticipate the shift from analogue to digital cameras; or
a failure to compete with the rise of cameras in mobile phones.

Kodak makes a good study for a strategic business analysis or case study such as this one by George Mendes.

David Glance in his Killing the Kodak moment … is the iPhone really to blame? at the The Conversation argues that:

Where Kodak did fail is in not understanding what people take photographs for, and what they do with photos once they have taken them..In the days of film cameras, personal photography was principally about holding on to personal memories, with photos usually ending up in a shoebox. But recent research by anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists suggests personal photography has moved from being mostly a tool for remembering, to one of emphasising communication and our individual identities.

Hello Facebook, goodbye Kodak.

Glance adds that the real accelerator for the frictionless sharing of photos has been:

the ability to instantly upload photographs to social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and to blog software such as Posterous and Tumblr ... Sharing a photo in this way is more about communication and less about remembering. The photo usually has some commentary .... and is “liked” and commented on by friends and others with whom it is shared.

Glance argues that since the real value in photography today is the software and platforms used for sharing and distribution so Kodak’s moment might have passed.

Mendes argues that Kodak is an example of repeat strategic failure – it was unable to grasp the future of digital quickly enough, and even when it did so, it was implemented too slowly under a continuous change strategy and ultimately it did not fit coherently as a core competency.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:25 PM | | Comments (3)


The auto mobile industry, in miniature and victims of their own lazy design and marketing and a delusory notion of what their own lives are. Joining IBM as a historical footnote.

The smart phone is the snapshot camera of today. The family snaps are on it, the phones now have enough memory to be miniature albums, and they can post the snaps to Facebook.

I have had a few kodak cameras over the last few years. The main reason was because i could use the "easy share" program they use so i just up graded the camera occasionally. The only issue i had with it was that when you email pics to friends from within the program the were sent to kodak and then sent on which delayed their arrival br hours sometimes. A bit like incredimail diverting stuff through Israel. Unnecessary Perhaps.
Kodak did try to create new business a few years back by going big into home printing and developed some good little printers but the paper and colour cartridges prices were expensive and places like harvey norman and coles type quick print businesses just killed them by advertising 10c prints. Kodaks print at home worked out to be about 60c.
From that point i think Kodak stopped looking for new ways to do things. But in saying that i think we are probably at a stage now with digital that other than developing better cheaper cameras or holographic projection equip the market is cooked.
So goodbye kodak hello ?