February 13, 2012
No Longer In The Camera Business, Kodak Looks To Printers As A Lifeline
Technology continues to trample over its former titans as Eastman Kodak Company, which brought photography to the common man a century ago and countless innovations afterwards, attempts to keep its doors open for now.
Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month after losing almost 90 percent of its market value in last year. Kodak, last week, announced that getting out of the camera business would result in 400 people in Rochester, New York being laid off, reports Reuters´ Sinead Carew.A spokesman for Kodak said it would attempt to license its name to other camera manufacturers and claims to already have received “significant interest”.
Despite being a pioneer in digital photography the company struggled to adapt as instant and on-demand photography became not only popular, but ubiquitous. The 130-year-old company could only watch as demand for traditional photographic film collapsed, writes The Telegraph´s Shane Richmond.
Kodak stopped manufacturing film cameras in 2004, continuing its slow spiral into obsolescence, and made its final roll of 35mm color film, once the mainstay of photography, in 2009.
The company could only watch from the technology sidelines as smart phones took over the lower end of the digital camera market.
Kodak´s chief executive and chairman, Antonio Perez is betting the company´s future on the commercial and consumer printer business markets. The printer market, however, is still dominated by HP, with rivals Canon and Epson ahead of Kodak.
“The printer initiative took over (in the last decade), and they took their eye off the ball in the camera and camcorder space,” IDC analyst Christopher Chute told Reuters.
Along with high-end office printers, Kodak sees home photo printers, high-speed commercial inkjet presses, workflow software and packaging as the core of its future business. The company has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into new lines of inkjet printers since 2005, AP is reporting.
Some consumer services will still be retained with retail-based photo kiosks and dry lab systems. Kodak said it has more than 100,000 kiosks and order stations for dry lab systems around the world.
An orderly transition is promised, the company will honor product warranties and provide technical support for its discontinued products.
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