The pioneer manufacturer of cameras and film, Eastman Kodak Co filed for bankruptcy on Thursday in a bid to survive the liquidity crisis after years of falling sales. The company said it had also obtained a $950 million, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup to keep it going.
With the advent of digital cameras, nobody but the nostalgic few have needed to buy film for their cameras. Moreover the lack of popularity of Kodak’s brand in the digital market hasn’t helped. According to WSJ, the company named Dominic Di Napoli, a vice chairman at FTI Consulting Inc., as its chief restructuring officer to help steer the company through bankruptcy court.
According to papers filed with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan, Kodak had about $5.1 billion of assets and $6.75 billion of liabilities at the end of September, Reuters reports.
Even though traditional film cameras have gone the way of the Dodo, Kodak patents have done a lot for digital imaging including technology used in today’s smartphones and tablets.
Kodak has made its marks in history. From decades of iconic Hollywood movies shot on Kodak film, to being the company accredited with one giant shot for camera kind it has been quite the run.
Not very long after Neil Armstrong snapped pictures of his moon trip, Kodak invented the digital camera. In retrospect, the Kodak executives should have put more time into developing that new technology instead of letting the competitors make tons of money from that market.
The lesson learned is that keeping up with the times is key to getting that valuable market share—using that Steve Jobs or whatever visionary it takes to move forward to the next level. This is not to say that Kodak needed to come out with a tablet, but perhaps getting the lead on a new medium would have been one way to renew the brand for the 21st century.
One commenter ‘hislonv’ on the Huffington Post makes an interesting point:
Kodak was banking on the feature film industry continuing to use film to get the “look” that movie producers wanted. They didn’t accept the fact that virtually every movie being made was utilizing digital effects as part of the process. The consumer side that most of you are basing your comments on was only part of the big picture so to speak for Kodak.
With the proliferation of digital cinema distribution of movies on hard drives with extensive enctyption the need to distribute movies on film went away. Drives are cheaper to ship, easier to store and cost less than the labor intensive film based and somewhat vulnerable to piracy distribution systems of the past.
Kodak was part of the original Digital Audio on Film movement. Their Engineers didn’t fully understand the needs of the industry and other companies ended up leading the digital audio on film procession. A simlar progression has left them out of the entire cinema industry.
Your Kodachrome has been taken away along with your Ektachrome, D76, Instamatic and other great Kodak products of the last century. The times they are a changing.
This commenter is right, the times are a changing. It’s hard to think of a world without Eastman Kodak, but good business trumps historical sentiment, unfortunately. Let’s hope the creditors can continue to keep the company going and move forward into the new era—so that our children may still have Kodak in their lives or at least be aware all that the company has given us over the year