Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Social Networks Stats The Almighty Buck Technology

Kodak Failing, But Camera Phones Not To Blame 309

Posted by timothy
from the all-the-world's-a-sunny-day dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from The Conversation: "According to the Wall Street Journal, camera manufacturer Kodak is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, following a long struggle to maintain any sort of viable business. The announcement has prompted some commentators to claim that Kodak's near-demise has been brought on by: 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. Actually, none of these claims are true. Where Kodak did fail is in not understanding what people take photographs for, and what they do with photos once they have taken them." Continues the reader: "Looking at camera data from Flickr, of images uploaded in 2011, camera phones only make up 3% of the total. Dedicated cameras from Canon, Nikon and yes, Kodak were used to take 97% of the images. What Kodak failed to understand is that people have switched from taking photos for remembering and commemorative reasons to using photos for identity and communication. The shift changes the emphasis away from print to social media platforms and dedicated apps."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Kodak Failing, But Camera Phones Not To Blame

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:13AM (#38634880)

    Dedicated cameras from Canon, Nikon and yes, Kodak were used to take 97% of the images

    Kodak makes its money (or used to) from film, not the camera hardware itself. All those 'dedicated cameras' are busy taking shots without a single bit of negative being exposed.

    • When the Kodak Brownie was introduced, yes, you could say that was their business model. It was successful for a great many decades too and Kodak made a pile of money off of that effort. They consumed so much silver for the production of their film that they even owned silver mines with much of the silver processed there was simply going to their own factories rather than being used for bullion or coins.

      That said, Kodak also was instrumental in developing the digital camera, invented the *.psd image format (still by far the best quality image format you can get in terms of the dynamic range of colors you can record for any computer imaging data format) and put in the engineering effort to try and change with the times.

      The sad thing is that this isn't the only photo equipment company which has suffered in terms of being relevant or even totally collapsed. The Polaroid Corporation was once a rather large company too, and now is only a marketing brand for Chinese knock-off cameras where the company itself doesn't even exist at all any more. If you look at Fujifilm, once a major competitor to Kodak, they are also struggling under the same kinds of problems and fighting for relevancy.

      All told, it really is a shift of technology on to of a shift in business models that are required to be successful. Then again Xerox had a similar kind of problem trying to stay relevant over the years, where it could have owned the PC market with the devices built at their PARC research group but instead let Apple Computer (in the form of Steve Jobs) essentially copy all of their ideas and build the Macintosh.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by larry bagina (561269)

        That said, Kodak also was instrumental in developing the digital camera, invented the *.psd image format (still by far the best quality image format you can get in terms of the dynamic range of colors you can record for any computer imaging data format) and put in the engineering effort to try and change with the times.

        .pcd?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:41AM (#38635276)

        That said, Kodak also was instrumental in developing the digital camera, invented the *.psd image format (still by far the best quality image format you can get in terms of the dynamic range of colors you can record for any computer imaging data format) and put in the engineering effort to try and change with the times.

        That was the PCD format. PSD is an Adobe/Photoshop format which is basically started out as a proprietary TIFF container to accommodate various things which make it more friendly to modern uses, but mostly as a vendor-lock-in device.

        Photo CD used a color space based on phosphors which were used in computer monitor and televisions, which is important because analog monitors can be driven in a way that they don't clip like an LCD monitor will, causing an abrupt line of brightness, (posterization) instead these areas on the monitor genuinely are whiter/brighter than normal. This makes PhotoCD images appear blown out in the highlights when viewed on modern hardware.

        So, it's not really that it's better in this regard, but simply different. This feature is woefully un-useful for print, for example. Also, for what it's worth, there are color spaces which completely blow Photo CD's color space out of the water in terms of total gamut, if not overall dynamic range, because unlike Photo CD these formats are hard limited at 100% brightness. Example: ProPhoto RGB which, incidentally, was also developed by Kodak and can record many colors which the human eye cannot see!

        Unfortunately it's mostly academic for now because few displays are capable of accurately rendering a great deal of the tonality those color spaces represent, because 1) DVI is limited to 8 bits per component, and 2) at a certain point you basically need more physical color components, like yellow and violet 'subpixels'. Example: the expensive LaCie monitors some professional designers and photographers like to use can render 100%+ of the NTSC color space, and 98% of Adobe RGB 1998, but still, the human eye can see a lot that these color spaces can't produce.

        • by tempmpi (233132) on Monday January 09, 2012 @05:44AM (#38635812)

          Also, for what it's worth, there are color spaces which completely blow Photo CD's color space out of the water in terms of total gamut, if not overall dynamic range, because unlike Photo CD these formats are hard limited at 100% brightness. Example: ProPhoto RGB which, incidentally, was also developed by Kodak and can record many colors which the human eye cannot see!

          It gets even worse: XYZ, a colorspace used for e.g. digital cinema and based on the response of the receptors in the eyes contains "imaginary colors" that can't exist in the real world. E.g.: It is impossible to find any mix of wavelengths that will only stimulate the Y/green receptor but not also stimulate the X and Z receptors at least slightly. But XYZ can express "colors" like that, that are supposed to stimulate only one receptor without also slightly stimulating the others, even through response curves of the receptors overlap. Maybe some day direct brain stimulation will make us able to see these colors that can't exist in the real world.

          Unfortunately it's mostly academic for now because few displays are capable of accurately rendering a great deal of the tonality those color spaces represent, because 1) DVI is limited to 8 bits per component, and 2) at a certain point you basically need more physical color components, like yellow and violet 'subpixels'.

          Well, HDMI and DisplayPort can both do up to 16 bits per component and xvYCC. Also 3 color components are fine for transmission, just for displaying some of these more extreme colors you will need more than three components.

          • by alexhs (877055) on Monday January 09, 2012 @07:07AM (#38636092) Homepage Journal

            But XYZ can express "colors" like that, that are supposed to stimulate only one receptor without also slightly stimulating the others, even through response curves of the receptors overlap. Maybe some day direct brain stimulation will make us able to see these colors that can't exist in the real world.

            You can actually experience that kind of colors as optic illusions : if you fix a blue sheet, you will strain your blue cones. If you then fix a green or yellow sheet, you should get an "impossible" color. There are other ways to get such impossible colors [wikipedia.org], but in any case you can't perceive them in "normal" conditions.

      • Just like "sexting" replaced Polaroid.

        • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday January 09, 2012 @12:39PM (#38638406) Journal

          Yeah. This article's analysis is WAY off. I still mostly take photos to remember important events, trips, etc. The images I post are mostly the sorts of things that this article describes (for identy and communication), but that's a tiny fraction of the photos I take.

          I don't know what Kodak's problem is other than that they focused on the wrong consumers. Sure, a lot of people buy cheap consumer cameras, but the real profit margins are in the DSLR space, which Kodak never really touched. Instead, they built digital backs for film-based SLR cameras, under the assumption that people would want to update their current film cameras to be digital. The problems with this are twofold:

          • They failed to anticipate that at some point, those pro photographers would decide that digital photos were good enough. Once this happened, there was no longer any reason to use film backs, which meant that there was no reason to use a bulky add-on digital back, either.
          • Nikon and Canon were smart enough to maintain compatibility with their existing lenses, which meant that users could upgrade to pure-digital cameras very easily, and did.

          Because Kodak did not anticipate this transition (and thus did not start making any DSLR cameras of their own), their only remaining sources of income were consumer-grade cameras and sale of image sensors to camera companies. By their very nature, however, consumer-grade cameras are low margin, and worse, their market got heavily cannibalized by camera phones, which seriously cut into those devices as a source of revenue.

          This left image sensors. Thus, the only way for Kodak to stay afloat at that point was to continue to be at the forefront of image sensor technology. Unfortunately, the two main camera makers, Canon and Nikon, both build a lot of their own chips, and Sony and Foveon make great chips as well, which nearly eliminates the potential for image sensor sales except in their own cameras.

          By the time all was said and done, their only way to make money was to compete in the compact camera market. Unfortunately, this market is almost purely feature-driven, which means that it demands ever-higher megapixel counts. Thus, they either had to buy chips from their competitors or keep up with them in their own image sensor designs. Worse, this meant supporting an image sensor division on sales of compact cameras—sales that were drying up.

          At least that's my interpretation of things based on what I've seen/read. Kodak needed to have made a serious foray into the DSLR market instead of (or in addition to) being a temporary enabler for their competition. Had they done this, they would be right up there with Canon and Nikon in the DSLR space by now, and they wouldn't be bankrupt.

          Let this be a warning to companies that ignore the pro market: you do so at your peril. The consumer market is great, but fickle. It can go away at a moment's notice, and when it does, if you don't have the loyal pro market, you're out of business.

      • What you have, is an old but highly profitable business model (selling cameras, and *then* both selling and developing film) becoming obsolete, and replaced with a new business model thats better for consumers - namely just selling digital cameras.

        The problem is that these companies became bloated from the huge profits they made selling and developing film, so the profits obtained from selling just the cameras are no longer enough to sustain the business. We're just lucky that they didn't start lobbying to have digital cameras banned, and force people to continue using film in order to protect their profits.

      • by Maow (620678) on Monday January 09, 2012 @05:54AM (#38635848) Journal

        Then again Xerox had a similar kind of problem trying to stay relevant over the years, where it could have owned the PC market with the devices built at their PARC research group but instead let Apple Computer (in the form of Steve Jobs) essentially copy all of their ideas and build the Macintosh.

        Channelling /. user [slashdot.org] bonch [slashdot.org] 'cause I cannot help myself:

        There comes a point where it's obvious that other companies are liberally borrowing from Jonathan Ive's design shop at Apple.

        [...]

        I realize Slashdot comments tend to have an Apple slant (to put it mildly), but come on, this is completely obvious "inspiration" from Apple.

        [...]

        I think what really goes on here is that some people just don't want to give Apple credit for anything, and they hate when people do credit them, so when comparisons between designs are pointed out, it pisses them off and they make snarky remarks about "rounded rectangles."

        So, don't you see? Xerox copied ideas from Ive's and Jobs' future! Why, oh why won't you at least give them credit where credit is due, Slashdot?

      • by silentcoder (1241496) on Monday January 09, 2012 @06:45AM (#38636016) Homepage

        >That said, Kodak also was instrumental in developing the digital camera, invented the *.psd image format

        This is partly right, but not as simple. The censor at the heart of all digital cameras was invented by a Kodak employee - at a time when Kodak was among the largest patent holders in the world. The executives he showed his design to told him "Forget it, we make film not computer stuff".
        The result is very much photography's own version of the XEROX-PARC/APPLE saga - as Kodak didn't see the value of what their employee had built, failed to patent it and saw his design being given to all the competition.

        Thus came the digital camera revolution - one reason why it had so many competitors so early on was that nobody owned a patent on the censor until it was too late to get one - mostly because the company where it was invented hadn't thought it worth the bother of applying for.

        Even if your cynical you could say that if Kodak had foreseen a possible threat from digital they could have patented the censor simply to prevent digital cameras from being made at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lumpy (12016)

        " If you look at Fujifilm, once a major competitor to Kodak, they are also struggling under the same kinds of problems and fighting for relevancy."

        not really, Fujifilm is doing fine. Their DSLR bodies are 5-10x better than any Canon or Nikon and are heralded as the best of the industry that the big pros use.
        Fuji is the only company with 3D digital cameras that are built good and take fantastic photos. They are owning the 3d digital photography market and own the process for printing 3d pri

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2012 @08:42AM (#38636378)

          Are you serious? Fuji doesn't currently make any DSLR cameras, and the ones they did make in the past were basically rebadged Nikon bodies.

          They do have a couple interesting albeit expensive niche cameras like the X100 and X10, althouth the latter is plagued by sensor issues (google "X10 orbs" or "X10 specular highlights"), and the former while a very nice camera has serious limitations (fixed focal lenght non interchangeable lens, poor performance wide open, etc)

          Then they have a slew of mostly forgettable P&S, that aren't sufficiently distinguishable from any other manufacturer's P&S to matter much, since the P&S market is pretty much owned by Sony, Canon and Panasonic.

          If anything, Fuji is aiming at the niche market of street or candid photographers, especially the ones that don't have the moolah to buy Leica. And even those are mostly going for Sony Nex or m4/3 bodies with adapters, which enables one to use old rangefinder lenses, as there is a cache of very good manual focus old glass from Leica, CV, Nikon, Canon, etc.

          Pretty much anyone doing professional work is using either Canon and Nikon (sports, photo journalism, etc), or Pentax medium format (645d) or very expensive digital backs on Hasselblads or technical/view cameras and the like, for studio work. Even Sony (which manufactures all sensors for Nikon) churned out a couple of full frame cameras (A850, A900) a few years ago, but couldn't make inroads into the Canikon market and pretty much gave up, opting instead to focus on translucent mirror or mirrorless cameras.

          Also, I'm pretty pissed at Fuji for discontinuing Neopan b&w films, which have been my favourites for the last decade or so. Recently (after my stock of both films ended) I started shooting Kodak Tri-X instead of Neopan 400, and Kodak Plus-X instead of Neopan Acros 100. Just my luck, Plus-X has been discontinued, and Tri-X will probably go the way of the dodo as well, now that Kodak is in the crapper. Time to stock up while I can, I guess. I just bought a new horizontal freezer for the basement, to store film, and ordered 800 rolls of Tri-X (the whole stock my usual "dealer" had) and scavenged over 500 rolls of Plus-X from various sources. When it's gone, I'll probably go for Foma 100 and Ilford HP5.

          It's really sad to see first Agfa go tits up (oh, how I would kill for a couple 100ft rolls of APX25, Efke is nowhere near the same), then Fuji discontinue pretty much all b&w films, and now Kodak. Really tough times for us, analog photographers.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by oztiks (921504)

      Kodak going broke?? No kidding!

      I guess that's what happens when you refuse to change your horseshoe factories into tyre making factories after people invent cars.

    • Kodak makes its money (or used to) from film, not the camera hardware itself

      No, the camera hardware also was an enourmous part of Kodak's traditional business. And not just cameras and film, but also the proprietary development processes, chemicals used in those, and paper...and quite a bit more than that. [wikipedia.org] Big company, had lots of products besides film.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday January 09, 2012 @07:26AM (#38636158) Homepage

      Kodak INVENTED the digital camera and was the only company selling them for the first year. It's the idiot CEO that was in place at that time that let them produce craptastic cameras instead of partnering with a camera maker.

      It is their own fault. Over the history of the digital camera, the crappiest digital cameras were all kodak. WTF were they thinking? They never tried to pioneer the digital film back, that could have made them a ton of money. etc...

      Kodak is dead because their leadership was stupid. They chased the maximum profits per quarter instead of chasing what would continue the company in the seachange they created themselves.

  • bad data source (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:15AM (#38634888) Journal
    flickr is a horrible source to do a study like this, it is going to bias towards 'real' cameras because it's more of a photography sharing site then it is a "drunken pics at the bar last night" site. mobile phones can upload photos straight to facebook and twitter
    • by cultiv8 (1660093) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:17AM (#38634892) Homepage
      What Kodak shoulda done is patented their technology, that's how you create something and then not innovate but yet profit from it. *runs, ducks*
      • Re:bad data source (Score:5, Interesting)

        by phantomfive (622387) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:33AM (#38634966) Journal
        They did patent their technology, at least a lot of it. That only lasts 20 years though, so you can't be a troll forever.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by rrohbeck (944847)

          Should've bribed more politicians so patents can get extended like copyright.

          • It kind of makes you wonder why they haven't done that. Surely there is more money to be made from patents than from copyright.

            Maybe it's been harder for them to make a case for extending patents? Since presumably if the owner of the patent hadn't invented the thing, someone else would have. It's a lot harder to make the case that if someone hadn't written a song or a book, that someone else would have.
            • Re:bad data source (Score:4, Interesting)

              by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday January 09, 2012 @03:55AM (#38635442)

              It is probably because patents mostly work as intended: basically to promote the disclosure of trade secrets by giving a temporary monopoly in return (yes yes I know patent trolls are there as well and so, it's not perfect). As a result the companies benefit from both the issuing of patents, and the expiry of other companies' patents.

              While issuing copyrights benefit the creators, but expiry of copyrights mainly benefits consumers. Media creators have generally very little benefit, if at all, from the expiry of other creator's copyrights, as there are plenty of ways that a creator can benefit from other people's works while under copyright: by getting inspiration, by parodying, etc.

              • Re:bad data source (Score:5, Interesting)

                by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Monday January 09, 2012 @04:27AM (#38635552)
                Disney (one of the biggest copyright extension pushers) benefits GREATLY from all the expired copyrights on the stories they turned into massively profitable movies.
      • They tried that. They are currently trying to sue Apple and RIM for over one beeeellion dollars [huffingtonpost.com]. Sun also paid them some money to get the Kodak lawsuit company off their backs after Kodak claimed to own a patent covering a program that gets help from another program [cnet.com].

    • by iamhassi (659463)

      flickr is a horrible source to do a study like this, it is going to bias towards 'real' cameras because it's more of a photography sharing site then it is a "drunken pics at the bar last night" site. mobile phones can upload photos straight to facebook and twitter

      Exactly. Do you know how many photos I've taken in the past year? Thousands. Do you know how many ended up on flickr? 0. Facebook? Several hundred.

      Same with everyone I know. Actually I don't know anyone that uses flickr except a few professional photographers, everyone else uploads their photos to facebook.

      • Re:bad data source (Score:5, Informative)

        by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:32AM (#38635238)

        True - far fewer use Flickr than Facebook. Having said that, I use Flickr for photos (despite being an avid Facebook user too), and so do most of my friends (in fact, they introduced me to Flickr originally). For me at least, it offers a number of advantages over FB:

        - It's built for photos from the ground up, rather than being a social networking site that also happens to let you upload photos. So it has a lot of useful image-specific tools that Facebook doesn't. It also has some nice geotagging features, allows you to preserve/edit/view EXIF information, proper creative-commons-based image rights controls etc.

        - Much simpler privacy controls. Basically, for each photo, it's either public (viewable at http://www.flickr.com/username [flickr.com] by anyone - no Flickr account needed), or viewable only by Flickr friends. When sharing photos with friends and family (who may or may not have a Facebook account), it's simpler to say "go to this URL to see my photos", than it is to get them to sign up to Facebook, become my friend etc. (I know that can probably set up FB such that certain photos are visible to non-members while still hiding all the rest of my posts and information ... I haven't looked into it ... but FB's privacy controls are more complex and overkill for the task at hand. Flickr seems a simpler and more elegant solution.)

        - It's not Facebook. While I'm not saying that I 'trust' Yahoo more than I do Facebook (or any other large corporation for that matter), it can't hurt not to have all my stuff in one place, right? If Facebook suddenly suffers a major security flaw, or decides to sell everyone's data or some other evil thing, at least they won't have my photos :) (Similarly, if Flickr goes bad, they have my photos, but not any other personal info that FB has).

        - It was (and frankly, still is) a nicer site to use and navigate than FB. And it used to be kinda cool before Yahoo took it over... :(

    • Re:bad data source (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:21AM (#38635190)

      Very true, but I suspect Flickr was chosen because:

      - Most Facebook users set privacy preferences up such that only friends can see their photos. Flickr on the other hand, being a 'photography sharing site' rather than something for personal images (as you rightly say), has mostly 'public' photos, accessible without even needing a Flickr account, that can be easily crawled and analysed. (You can make photos visible only to other Flickr friends, but by and large, people don't do this, as they aren't using it for private photos).

      - Camera model is derived from EXIF data in image. Facebook uploading software (or maybe Facebook itself) generally strips out EXIF information from images. So despite the fact that Facebook offers many more images than Flickr, it is useless in any study of how much particular makes/models of camera are used. (Again, you can hide/strip EXIF data on Flickr as well, but a smaller proportion of people do this than you might think, and at least it's an option, unlike on FB where it's stripped no matter what)

    • Re:bad data source (Score:5, Insightful)

      by osu-neko (2604) on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:43AM (#38635284)

      flickr is a horrible source to do a study like this, it is going to bias towards 'real' cameras because it's more of a photography sharing site then it is a "drunken pics at the bar last night" site.

      For the purposes of the point being made, that's precisely why flickr is the perfect site. Kodak's market never was the "drunken pics at the bar" market. Losing a market you never had to begin with has no impact on your bottom line.

    • Re:bad data source (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sir_Sri (199544) on Monday January 09, 2012 @03:38AM (#38635398)

      and just because the last 3 or 4 years of Flickr has been populated with cameras but not camera phones doesn't mean the next 5 years will be.

      I went on a business trip, with 2 days due to scheduling incompetence on our end that ended up as free time, + 1 extra day due to business issues. All I took was my Galaxy SII. It took some great photos (or at least, the camera worked, my own incompetence not withstanding). And it took a few videos that probably could have been better. It got the job done. I'm sure I could have carried another device, which would have been one more thing to risk losing, or breaking. My phone I needed anyway.

      But If I did that 3 years ago, I would have still taken a camera, a digital camera, but a camera.

      A cell phone will never replace a full blown camera completely, but at some point it becomes 'good enough' that you don't need all of the other stuff that makes it a camera, and it just runs as software on the portable computer, and the Camera becomes a specialized device. Kodak was the wrong company for dealing with that change. They were a chemicals company (Eastman is still a chemicals company), CCD's are semiconductor industry devices. Kodak would have been in serious trouble trying to get into that mass market without buying a semiconductor outfit, or merging with one. Everyone who is in the digital camera censor business is in it because they have a chip background. I cannot seriously envision a situation that could have lasted where Sony or Samsung would have continued to make cameras for Kodak but not on their own, which essentially what has happened with the cell phone (and camera's in cell phones business, between them and Apple, even Sony, who is still selling them cameras are publicly pondering why they are that stupid). Kodak got into the game late, and they've never been able to do anything but try and catch the leaders, and in the end you get left behind. All of the big camera makers are moving into other areas of electronics and Kodak doesn't have the skills or the resources to follow. While Sony and Samsung are integrating their camera technology into cell phone Kodak is trying to not go bankrupt.

      They could have avoided this, if they'd jumped on CCD cameras as the future of the business in oh... 1996. They didn't. It has nothing to do with social, or the types of devices people want. Kodak is a chemicals company in a semiconductor business, and they didn't realize it until it was too late, and the semiconductor companies didn't need them anymore.

    • Re:bad data source (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DarkOx (621550) on Monday January 09, 2012 @06:40AM (#38636000) Journal

      No it's a good data source for that very reason. The people using those 'real' cameras are most likely the market segment that have been Kodak's traditional customers. We want to know have they have changed and what they do now. The photo market itself has grown and it may well be that Kodak has lost total share by not capturing the new market segments like mobile phone snap shots but that is a different question.

  • Changing business (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sd4f (1891894) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:16AM (#38634890)
    If business was slowing down a lot, why weren't they sacking workers and reducing expenditure? I think this is more of a failure on management to restructure the company in a way that identifies that they can't really compete in the digital age how they once used to. I think that sometimes the management just have to realise that the company can't exist like it once did, and in order for the company to remain and still employ some people, they'll have to downsize a lot more than management might be comfortable about.
    • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:24AM (#38634924) Journal

      Up to and including... management. You can only fire your way into a positive quarterly report so many times before you run out of peons to pee on.

      • Not to mention that in American corporations management earns the lion's share of the wages. Probably more effective to eliminate a few upper management slots.

    • by Isaac-1 (233099) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:32AM (#38634964)

      Kodak's decline goes back 30 years or more, I personally think it began with their ill fated Kodamatic (Polaroid clone) and having to pull it from the market after loosing a major patent infringement case to Polaroid. Since then it has been one bad move after another, does anyone remember the much hypes Kodak disc camera? The only good thing they had going was their high end multi thousand dollar CCD imager division which they completely failed to convert to market dominance in the consumer digital camera revolution. Sure their were also many background failures like not keeping up with Fuji and others in the 1-hour photo market in an attempt to maintain their major mail out photo lab processing centers, etc.

      • Re:Changing business (Score:5, Interesting)

        by msobkow (48369) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:41AM (#38635006) Homepage Journal

        A decline from such heights doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of mismanagement, mistakes, failure to read the market, failure to adapt, and in this case, failure to realize that the entire market on which your business is based is going away.

        I find it interesting that Fuji in Japan was a much more diverse company, and seems to be working on Thorium Molten Salt Reactor technology based on the PROVEN trials of the 1960s. That's a pretty radical leap from Fuji's "traditional" camera market.

        A smart company invests their assets in developing new markets and new products, not tenaciously clinging to old and failing models until their last dying breath.

        • by syousef (465911)

          A decline from such heights doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of mismanagement, mistakes, failure to read the market, failure to adapt, and in this case, failure to realize that the entire market on which your business is based is going away.

          Rubbish. A company, like a person, can be sunk by a single bad mistake. The miracle here is that they lasted so long - that's one heck of an asset base they had to chew through!

          • by msobkow (48369)

            But that's the point, isn't it? They HAD the assets to work with to change the face of the company and leverage the brand to do something new. They wasted a LOT of years that have could have been spent on R&D and product development.

            • by Seedy2 (126078)

              Business students are likely the worst possible people to allow to run a business. The all seem to focus on short term gains and things to boost their resume so they can move on to another company and do the same thing there. No matter the short term gain turns to a short and/or long term loss after they've gone. Or you have the long timers who stay with one company and boost their own department at the expense of other departments in the same company, getting praise for their efforts while the company nose

          • Re:Changing business (Score:5, Interesting)

            by msobkow (48369) on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:25AM (#38635206) Homepage Journal

            Rather than saying a company can be sunk by a single bad decision, I'd say it's one specific TYPE of bad decision: hiring the wrong executive.

            Look at NorTel in it's heyday. It was one of the top technology companies in the world; the patents sold in the bankruptcy are still very valuable.

            But they brought in a hot-shot "save the company" American executive to run the place. He laid off THOUSANDS, and many thousands more who were good resources left of their own accord in addition before the axe could fall on them. The company never did recover from the devastation of those late-80s layoffs, and continued it's decline for years afterward.

            But it wasn't a single bad decision in the sense of backing the wrong technology or the wrong business model. It was hiring a rapist to run the company.

        • You mean like Kodak Chemicals? Or Kodak mining? Or Kodak printing? We could go on. Kodak actually had a number of subsidiaries that they owned. Sold them off. Big mistake.
          • by msobkow (48369)

            Yes, they made acquisitions and later sold them off. But what did they do that was NEW?

            • Actually, they built those up. Yes, they sold, foolishly, but they built up both mining and chemicals.
              • by msobkow (48369)

                Well, that's baffling. Why build up a new business and sell it off as soon as it's profitable enough to find a buyer? That's kind of a counter-intuitive way to build an empire, isn't it?

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuji_Heavy_Industries [wikipedia.org]
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fujifilm

          I think you are confusing the two unrelated Fujis.
    • Re:Changing business (Score:5, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:35AM (#38634988) Journal
      They are filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy. That isn't going to shutdown the company. They are going to restructure it, hopefully in a way that will continue to let the company survive in the future, including doing things like downsizing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851)

        Yeah, but I don't have much hope for them. They fought digital tooth and nail up until relatively recently. Do you happen to remember that film camera that they were trying to market a decade or so ago which showed a preview on an LCD on the back of the camera of what was on the film? It would have been both revolutionary and useful had they come up with it a decade or two earlier, but as it was it wasn't really useful and I think it failed pretty much immediately.

        The painful thing for Kodak is that they ha

    • Re:Changing business (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jimicus (737525) on Monday January 09, 2012 @06:56AM (#38636054)

      If business was slowing down a lot, why weren't they sacking workers and reducing expenditure? I think this is more of a failure on management to restructure the company in a way that identifies that they can't really compete in the digital age how they once used to. I think that sometimes the management just have to realise that the company can't exist like it once did, and in order for the company to remain and still employ some people, they'll have to downsize a lot more than management might be comfortable about.

      When you have a small company, it's pretty easy to do that. The CEO or someone very close to him visits the affected departments like the Angel of Death and when he leaves, staff levels have been cut by 40%.

      When you have a huge multi-national, it's really hard. You've got a vast number of departments spread out in all sorts of locations, employment law varies between locations (meaning you may not be able to go in and sack everyone even if you wanted to) - and even the most efficient set of management accounts is lacking in some detail. So rather than visiting like some dark angel, you carry out a full review of operations to get an idea of what departments are contributing and what departments aren't.

      Well and good, but the people directly below you didn't get that far by being stupid. They're pretty good at office politics themselves, they know which way the wind is blowing, they know what a full review of operations means, they've spent years building up their little empire. No way they're letting it go without a fight. So when the instruction comes down from on high, you can be more-or-less certain that the report that goes back will show their department to be the one thing that's keeping the company afloat. (This, BTW, is why it's quite common to hire in outside consultants or make big staffing changes at a senior level before doing these things...)

      Not to mention that such a review works great if the problem can be neatly divided in departmental lines. If it can't - if instead all your teams are contributing but none are contributing anywhere near what they need to be to keep the company afloat - things now become a lot harder.

      That's why when we hear of huge companies turning things around and improving their situation dramatically where before they looked doomed, it's really big news. IBM and Apple have done it, but as a rule it's pretty rare. It's rather more common for the numbers on the balance sheet to drop steadily over a period of time until they can no longer sustain the business - and when that happens, creditors get jumpy. Frequently they get so jumpy that there simply isn't time to go in and turn the business around, they've already asked a court to declare you bankrupt.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:22AM (#38634914)

    Let's pretend the data is accurate and reliable. Kodak's core problem would remain the same: if you're business model is built on selling photographic film and paper, and people don't need that anymore, the company is going to fail.

    • by osu-neko (2604) on Monday January 09, 2012 @03:06AM (#38635336)

      ...if you're business model is built on selling photographic film and paper, and people don't need that anymore, and you don't change in any way, the company is going to fail.

      ftfy

      Many companies survive the complete evaporation of their original business model just fine. Did you know Berkshire Hathaway was originally a textile company?

      Any company with the resources Kodak once had can survive any possible change in their market, regardless of their business model, as long as they aren't afraid to change. Companies fail when they're run by incompetent management, period.

      • by clodney (778910) on Monday January 09, 2012 @10:59AM (#38637292)

        Many companies survive the complete evaporation of their original business model just fine. Did you know Berkshire Hathaway was originally a textile company?

        Any company with the resources Kodak once had can survive any possible change in their market, regardless of their business model, as long as they aren't afraid to change. Companies fail when they're run by incompetent management, period.

        If only it were that simple. The big problem is deciding what to change into. A company in a declining market may have a very profitable, cash cow business. They can use that money to fund the search for a new business model. But a company with a huge investment/infrastructure/employee base in business X may not even recognize an opportunity in business Y, and even with the cash available, may not be a competent competitor in business Y even if they decide to pursue it.

        Should Kodak have gone into search engines in competition with Google? Or closer to home, given their association with the movies, maybe create a special effects studio? Or maybe create software to edit images like Photoshop? Is there any reason to think that they would have succeeded at any of those ventures?

        Having cash and recognition that your business is declining is not enough. The real rub is finding something else that you can succeed at. And I don't think there is any obvious way to go about that.

  • by gzipped_tar (1151931) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:25AM (#38634930) Journal

    It first tried to rebuke the claims of Kodak being not able to innovate, etc, and then discussed "how people today use photos" in the examples of Flickr, Facebook, and such. It concluded with the weak argument of essentially one sentence, that "[It] is hard to see a role for Kodak in all of this." The problem with this reasoning is that exactly the same thing can be said about many of Kodak's competitors. I'm not aware whether Nikon or Canon is doing significantly better in this regard, which is to ease the "sharing and distribution" of photos through the Internet and social networking.

    • by jaymz666 (34050)

      Are Nikon and Canon their competitors, or perhaps fujifilm and agfa? Where are they these days?
      Polaroid as well.

      • by c0lo (1497653) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:52AM (#38635054)
        Agfa [wikipedia.org] - doing fine in B2B - they managed to jettison their consumer film division quite a while ago.

        However, in 2004, the consumer imaging division was sold to a company founded via management buyout. AgfaPhoto GmbH, as the new company was called, filed for bankruptcy after just one year

        FujiFilm [wikipedia.org] - switched to digital faster than Kodak (FinePix consumer cameras), diversified in other areas [japantimes.co.jp] and is still getting 3% of their sale from film (most probable medical imaging).

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Actually, Kodak had no problems innovating, they did however have tons of problems getting any of it to market in a way that consumers would accept. I remember a very innovative flop from them a decade back. Basically a digital camera/film hybrid which would give a preview of what was on the film at the time you took the image without developing the film.

      The thing that really cost them was the time that they spent burying their digital innovations to protect their film business. I doubt very much that they

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        Nikon and Canon are hardware manufacturers. Nikon's Nikkor lens technology was very popular among photographers (possibly still is - it's been a while I was active in photography), and for a lens it basically doesn't matter whether there's a CCD or a chemical film behind. A relatively easy transition as it "just" requires changes to the body of the camera. The optics are the hardest part of the camera to get right, and still are what make a good camera expensive. Those parts also won't come down in price li

    • by governorx (524152)

      Agreed, had a look the article and it failed to provide any of the following supportive arguments and evidence:

      1) Pictures taken with Kodak cameras cannot be shared.
      - I know this is not a fact. I get pictures all the time from my parents that use Kodak and their crapware EasyShare software.
      2) Really I have more, but point 1 discredits the entire article.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:28AM (#38634940)

    Kodak has lost money each year but one since Mr. Perez, who previously headed the printer business at Hewlett-Packard Co., took over in 2005. The company's problems came to a head in 2011, as Mr. Perez's strategy of using patent lawsuits and licensing deals to raise cash ran dry.
     
      Perez chose litigation over innovation; failure was inevitable and deserved.

  • by robla (4860) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:31AM (#38634948) Homepage Journal

    Even though Kodak saw digital photography coming, the problem was Kodak's whole financial structure was tied to film, and digital technology was disruptive technology [wikipedia.org]. They might have been able to sustain the brand by merging with or buying the right company at the right time (e.g. Canon), but most companies have a hard time dealing with technology shifts that vaporize their main profit center. It's not as simple as just knowing what the next trend is; it's figuring out how to gracefully wind down the existing cash cow while giving the new technology the management attention and resources it needs to thrive. Even then, there still ends up being a lot of pain because you can just put all of the same people you had producing film to work in a digital camera business.

    • Not just photography (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They sold off their Healthcare division (think expensive imaging equipment) in 2007, their graphics division was closed and the programmers replaced with Chinese & Israeli ones in 2009. That outsourcing flopped, competitors brought out major upgrades, Kodak stagnated.

      http://printplanet.com/forums/kodak-systems/19947-prinergy-dead-they-laying-off-dev-team

      So you might think their problems are just the loss of the low end digital camera business, but the CEO there makes some bad bad decisions in all divisi

      • by Skapare (16644)

        A decent CEO could turn that place around.

        A decent CEO could create more value by having less baggage. So decent CEOs that know how to innovate don't want to be anywhere near a place that has to deal with everything else. Decent CEOs go to, or make, a startup, and get out before it goes supernova.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:21AM (#38635192)

          I think you mean a Steve Jobs, whereas I mean a more boring hum-drum one like Mark Hurd.

          Basic competent leadership is enough to turn Kodak around, it doesn't need a superstar CEO, or a major new innovation. That graphics software they killed, it was doing well in the marketplace before the credit crunch hit them. Credit crunch hits, idiot CEO sacks all the programmers and outsources it to China to cut costs. Competitors Agfa/Heidleberg etc. hire all the programmers while they're cheap and come out with major upgrades in the next cycle, customers switch from Kodak and Kodak product dies. Why? Some idiot CEO read an outsourcing article and like a gullible idiot believed it???

          Cameras still sell, and sell well, and Kodak are still a respected camera maker, but they make slightly overpriced, ugly looking cameras. Just basic CEO cost cutting, and trying out new designers, and adjusting teams, boring CEO 101 stuff would be enough to bring Kodak back.

          Kodaks problems are just bad CEO problems.

  • I mean, just mention "Kodak", the go ahead and mention "Canon" or "Samsung" or "Casio" or "Sony" or "Nikon", then compare all those entities to see which one has the so called "swag". I doubt Kodak would come close.

    To me, (and I am a bit old fashioned btw), Kodak and businesses I will not mention here, represent the past. The name simply does not sell these days. It's a bit like Microsoft. Their names are "tired" for lack of a better word. Not that they do not produce good stuff, but they've been around for

    • I would agree with the importance of branding.. When I bought my first digital camera I never considered Kodak. Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Fujifilm were all the brand names that I seemed to be aware of.

      The Canon Digital Rebel made quite a stir when it came out and having seen Canon's UI that was easy to pick up and consistent all it camera's line made it a "done deal" for having an "upgrade path" from a simple point-and-shoot, to the Digital Rebel, to the 5D, if I so wanted.

      Kodak never was "on the radar."

  • by tbird81 (946205) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:35AM (#38634982)

    Someone I knew uploaded their photos to the Kodak site for printing, and had deleted them from her camera.

    Rather than making it easy to get a copy of these photos, it was impossible. I think you basically had to order a PhotoCD or something, which I wasn't going to do.

    They could have made a proper website to allow people to share their photos and print them. But they made it annoying.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      Harvard MBAs. Whaddya expect?

    • by Bob_Who (926234) <Bob@@@who...net> on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:51AM (#38635300) Homepage Journal

      Someone I knew uploaded their photos to the Kodak site for printing, and had deleted them from her camera.

      Rather than making it easy to get a copy of these photos, it was impossible. I think you basically had to order a PhotoCD or something, which I wasn't going to do.

      They could have made a proper website to allow people to share their photos and print them. But they made it annoying.

      Ofoto.com was the premiere photography web upstart at the millennium. At that time, Ofoto was the largest buyer of KODAK paper. In fact, since they were clearly in a position of market dominance, Ofoto's brand looked very appealing to Kodak. Kodak greedily gobbled up that magnificent Berkeley dot com upstart, and made it Dow Jones blue chips. From that moment forward, it was all down hill for Ofoto. It went from being the technological and artistic leader to falling into stagnation and total alienation of Ofoto's loyal customer base. They tragically proceeded to delete the customer archives, to save on cost. For most people, this cloud was the ONLY back up of their precious data. Kodak refused to allow customers to download their data:or transfer it to other servers. ONLY the purchase of measly 700mb/ $20 CDs was offered as a means of accessing gigabytes of sacred customer data. I recall doing the math and finding that it was more expensive than all of my camera equipment. Kodak MURDERED Ofoto like they self destructed themselves when they realized that Corporate America is no place for a retired labor force. So just die, rob the shareholders, and let go of all those ballooning pension and health care commitments.

  • Article lost me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lordfly (590616) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:35AM (#38634986) Homepage Journal

    at this: "It would be interesting to repeat this analysis using Facebook data, but there is no reason to believe the results would be substantially different."

    Yes, because the millions of smartphones out there with a camera and a Facebook app (as opposed to a flickr app) aren't going to skew the results at all.

    Flickr is for people who like photography; ergo, the data is going to be skewed heavily towards actual cameras.

    Facebook is for people sharing themselves with their friends and the world. One only has to peruse a random person's Facebook profile picture page to find hundreds of self-snaps taken in the bathroom, or at the pub, or on a train, or whatever.

    Kodak, in my opinion, failed because they neglected to make quality products in their particular niche (easy to use, inexpensive, easy to share). They offshored their production, so Kodak cameras were notoriously hit-or-miss in regards to actually working right. They missed the highend market (then again Kodak was never known for that anyway), letting Sony, Pentax, Canon, and Nikon beat them there. They failed to leverage their gigantic photo paper experience into anything worthwhile (I own a Kodak printer that, as I type this, refuses to print due to some bizarre error I don't have time to diagnose).

    In short, Kodak failed because Kodak fucked up. Photography isn't going anywhere. Hell, film photography isn't going anywhere. Kodak just stood still and let the world pass them by.

    They took our Kodachrome away, and nobody cared.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I hate to break it to you, but film photography is on the way out. It will linger on for a while, but it just doesn't bring anything particularly compelling to the party. Even pros are going digital for the increased control and consistency that can be had from it.

      I do like slide film and the various options that Fuji provides, but the fact of the matter is that there's just so little to be gained by maintaining an archaic technology that's past its prime. What's more printers and the related technology has

      • by Isaac-1 (233099)

        My personal guess is film will be dead, or at least relegated to the realms of artist and art students within the next decade, higher end digital imagers are now almost to the point of exceeding the capabilities of film in every aspect of photography, it is just a matter of time for Moore's law to do its thing before the capabilities of these $8,000+ cameras are seen in the $400 - $800 semi-serious cameras.

  • No real conclusion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dan East (318230) on Monday January 09, 2012 @01:38AM (#38634998) Homepage Journal

    The article doesn't make much sense. It talks about "frictionless photo sharing" and how Kodak has totally missed it in that area, and how camera phones can share photographs via Facebook seamlessly with little effort. But then it shows Flickr stats asserting that Kodak isn't actually competing against camera phones, but other dedicated camera makers like Canon, Nikon, etc. So in what way is Canon and Nikon integrating with FB, or otherwise "getting it", where Kodak isn't? I've owned a couple modern Canon cameras, and they just throw pics onto an SD card like Kodak does, so Canon's success has nothing to do with beating Kodak in the way the article claims Kodak has failed. That's the real question - why did Canon and Nikon trounce Kodak when it comes to digital cameras?

    Simply put, the article is talking about two different things, and doesn't correlate the cause and affect between them at all.

  • Doubtful (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    As someone who knows a bit about digital photography I do believe it has everything to do with Kodak's camera product lineup. Kodak made no serious effort in high end photography, and being a typical American company they bungled what they did do, then gave up. They wanted to keep on producing cheap cameras like they had always done. But this was disrupted by two factors; along came cameraphones and knocked the low end down, and the march of technology have made the low end camera so cheap that there are no

    • Re:Doubtful (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Brett Buck (811747) on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:29AM (#38635222)

      Kodak is/was definitely a player in the high-end market. Their sensors are used in the current top-end Leica (M9 and S-series) and are the best available.

            There's an aspect to this story that no one is considering - contracts with (or loss of) governmental customers for exceptionally high-quality film. There's a reason you can't get Tech Pan any more and it's not because they forgot how to make it.

      • Re:Doubtful (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Waccoon (1186667) on Monday January 09, 2012 @07:50AM (#38636244)

        Around 2003, I used to work in a small photo store, and we had a Noritsu optical photo printer hooked up to a WinNT4 workstation running Kodak DLS MiniLab software. From the ground up, it was designed for totally digital workflow, so processing orders from floppy disks and CDs was common, as was saving orders to NAS.

        It was buggy as hell, the GUI frequently drew garbage and tears, it wouldn't run on Win2K so we couldn't use a lot of card readers or USB anything, it crashed several times a day, and the database would just stop working for no reason which required frequent restarts and losing orders. The system was supposed to be all digital, but any orders we loaded from customer media always printed yellow and washed out, and any color adjustments resulted in horrible banding and color shifts. It was a total black box system, and I couldn't even tell what colorspace the machine was using to process images. JPEG files with embedded color profiles either showed up totally black, or in some cases would cause the system to crash. I eventually developed a system of filtering all customer orders through Irfanview to weed out color profiles the DLS software couldn't handle, to make sure we could actually print on a 1-hour schedule without fear the system would collapse. Just about everything crashed that software, and the CD burner would frequently make coasters -- a big deal when Kodak was charging several dollars for their PhotoCDs (the system would write to blank CDs, thankfully).

        Photos scanned on the Kodak PictureMaker kiosk (running a SparcStation III which took over 15 minutes just to boot up), would take about 10 minutes just to network the final images to the DLS software, even though it took half as long for the Noritsu printer to spit them out. Don't even get me started about the greeting card templates, where more than 150K of XML was required just to define a canvas and a transparency mask to make bordered cards.

        Naturally, proprietary file formats were used for everything, so it was impossible to access customer orders directly through the NAS. You had to use special client software to connect to the DLS system, search for the order strictly by customer number (not order number), retrieve thumbnails of the orders one at a time until you haphazardly discovered the actual order you wanted, retrieve the high-resolution image for the whole order, and then you could actually save the images to a disk. This procedure could take 3-4 minutes if you were lucky, more than 15 if you weren't. The Image Extractor client was about the only thing in the whole setup that ran on Win2K, so that was what we used to write orders to USB thumb drives. The DLS system itself required a horrifically expensive multi card reader connected via SCSI.

        If there was anything that shattered my impression of Kodak, it was their "high-end" software. Kodak did a horrible job adapting to the digital market.

  • Kodak Easy Share (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Danzigism (881294) on Monday January 09, 2012 @02:08AM (#38635144)
    was the biggest piece of crap ever made. After working with tons of residential customers who need their computers cleaned up and ask for an explanation as to what caused their machine to take so long to boot, Kodak Easy Share was the culprit in many cases. I know they're simply trying to make it easy for old people to just plug in their camera to the computer and magically have all their photos transferred to the All Users\My Pictures folder (which is stupid btw), but the software is just pure autorun garbage and why on earth it needed to execute during start up, I have no idea. Regardless of the quality of the cameras, having any negative response on your product cannot be a good thing. I don't think it's the main reason Kodak is filing bankruptcy obviously, but I do think it may have contributed to Kodak's negative consumer image.
  • They can't wait to scoop up all that IP.

  • What Kodak failed to understand is that people have switched from taking photos for remembering and commemorative reasons to using photos for identity and communication.

    eh? Where did that premise come from? You look at Flickr photos and decide that people use photos for identity and communication? I don't see any evidence that the majority of the population DON'T take photos to remember and commemorate.

  • by BlueCoder (223005) on Monday January 09, 2012 @03:08AM (#38635346)

    Split off the old film division into a maintenance company for film cameras. Commit to some old school film camera models and maintain them indefinitely. Preserve the ancient art. Support other manufacturers old equipment with parts and film. Raise the prices to maintain the business.

    For the digital division come out with a few models of slightly oversized modular cameras. Focus on the amateur photographer. The cameras should be designed to be supported for 10 years and not obsolete in six months. Have the electronics internals replaceable/upgradeable. Build them more sturdy such that they can be dropped and used in the rain. Have unusual models useful for art type stuff such as multiple offset lenses of different types. Be the brand name people look for when what they are looking to do isn't standard. What if people want to use an IR/UV sensor for alternative photography, they won't find that at best buy.

    Stop putting filters in the cameras and instead simply take raw images. Put out your own inexpensive inter-operating photo editing suite that will rival Photoshop to "develop" the images. Don't make the software point and click... make it capable. Make the image algorithms transparent though a compiled scripted mathematical language rather than purchased modules/addons.

    Bring the people. Then do collaborative deals with commodity hardware companies.

  • Reasons for failure (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I think there are three main reasons for Kodak's failure. They are:
    1. Still analog and chemical company. It is possible kick people out and just buy electronics and software from somewhere else. Does Kodak want to do it? Also how many internal processes still originate from the rigid chemical process lines? Is it possible to change the people for different industry (i.e. chef to physicist).
    2. Pride. Having developed its reputation on analog (pocket) cameras. It's hard for a reputable stove oven company to s

  • Wrong conclusion. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yeOldeSkeptic (547343) on Monday January 09, 2012 @05:47AM (#38635824)

    If the reason Kodak failed is because they failed to see the shift in attitude towards photographs, then why is it that traditional camera makers like Canon and Nikon are alive and well?

    I think the writer failed to see the obvious here. The reason Kodak failed is because Kodak is primarily a film and photo chemicals maker and not primarily a camera maker. With less people using film it is obvious Kodak can't base its business model on an obsolescent technology. Nikon and Canon are primarily camera makers and they were able to make the shift to digital successfully. Kodak was not.

    Kodak's error was that it decided to hold onto a flawed business model rather than just closing down the company and returning the assets to the stockholders. Some companies are destined to close down. It's just the way it is.

  • by rrossman2 (844318) on Monday January 09, 2012 @09:14AM (#38636506)

    After reading the comments.. I'm shocked no one pointed out something I've been thinking about since my son was born (going to be 2 in Feb).

    [I]" What Kodak failed to understand is that people have switched from taking photos for remembering and commemorative reasons to using photos for identity and communication."[/I]

    And with less and less places printing actual photo grade photos (vs people who use an inkjet to print photos onto generic FAX/copy paper), I can see a lot of "memories" being lost. Sure the ability to take a photo and upload to Facebook is nice.. instant gratification... but one swipe of the internet and Facebook could be gone, or lock up your photos, and all of those "memories" gone.

    Its one reason I downloaded as many photos from my Facebook and my wife's and made a blog page about his leg issues.. a place where I have a backup of all the photos until I get a chance to print them all out in a photo grade fashion.

    I'm just surprised no one else commented about that

  • by scharkalvin (72228) on Monday January 09, 2012 @10:07AM (#38636858) Homepage

    Kodak tried to enter the printer market and bombed. They had a good idea, produce a printer at a reasonable but not give-away price and sell the ink at a reasonable price (unlike HP that almost gives the printer away and rapes you on the cost of ink). However Kodak did not open up their printer IP or extend support for platforms other than Windows. As a result their printers are paperweights on Linux and BSD (I don't know about MAC's). Even worse, they went to some of the worst factories in China to have their printer built (or the design has too many corners cut). Most reviews claim paper jams, "fire and smoke". They had a chance here, and they blew up big time.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

Working...