Friday, January 20, 2012

Kodak files for Chapter 11

By Chuck Hajdu

Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to reorganize. This is one of the least surprising filings in history because everyone who follows the industry knew this was coming. Kodak was always the 800 pound gorilla in the room until..... they missed the the shift from film to digital photography.

A few years ago I met with the powers that be from Fujifilm in New York. At the time digital photography was in it’s infancy and they, much like Kodak, were convinced that film was still the preferred medium, and would stay that way for years to come. I argued strongly that film was a dying medium for 90% of users and digital would control the market early in the 21st Century. As time has shown, I was right.

Kodak management is clearly to blame for their failure. Companies like Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm and Leica all made the necessary moves to stay competitive in the market while others, like Kodak and Minolta foundered. Kodak has enough intellectual property to come out of this as a stronger and better company. What they need is a really smart management team to lead them out of the wilderness.

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