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Kodak Failing, But Camera Phones Not To Blame

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-the-world's-a-sunny-day dept.

Social Networks 309

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."

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Poor analysis - its film not the camera itself (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Poor analysis - its film not the camera itself (5, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635030)

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:Poor analysis - its film not the camera itself (3, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635066)

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?

Re:Poor analysis - its film not the camera itself (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Poor analysis - its film not the camera itself (4, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635278)

Just like "sexting" replaced Polaroid.

Re:Poor analysis - its film not the camera itself (1, Insightful)

oztiks (921504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635286)

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.

bad data source (5, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634888)

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

Re:bad data source (4, Funny)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634892)

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 (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634966)

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:bad data source (1, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635172)

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

Re:bad data source (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635262)

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 (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (1)

slugstone (307678) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635530)

ok, where the car analogy on how disclosure of trade secrets helps a company?

Re:bad data source (1)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635088)

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] .

Re:bad data source (-1, Redundant)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635292)

over one beeeellion dollars

That joke wasn't very funny when a painfully unfunny Canadian made it in a teeth grindingly unfunny movie 10+ years ago even though there it was at least in context. It hasn't matured with age to become funny since then.

Re:bad data source (4, Funny)

sunspot42 (455706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635400)

over one beeeellion dollars

That joke wasn't very funny when a painfully unfunny Canadian made it in a teeth grindingly unfunny movie 10+ years ago even though there it was at least in context. It hasn't matured with age to become funny since then.

Oh, behave!

Re:bad data source (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635420)

with all the bullshit comments that get posted here, you're gonna pick on that one? Fucking lighten up Hal...

Re:bad data source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38634926)

Exactly. Need to look at facebook, not flickr!

Re:bad data source (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635032)

it's called "selection bias"

Re:bad data source (1)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635048)

My thoughts exactly! How the hell is flickr data useful unless you know what percentage of all photos taken are uploaded to flickr in the first place? If they actually *could* get that data, and it turned out to be something like 80%, well then that might be different. FTA: "(Admittedly, the number of images on Flickr is about 5% of that on Facebook. It would be interesting to repeat this analysis using Facebook data, but there is no reason to believe the results would be substantially different.)" BS article FTW!

Re:bad data source (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635082)

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 (5, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (3, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Changing business (5, Interesting)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Changing business (4, Insightful)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634924)

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.

Re:Changing business (1)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634990)

Management are probably the first that should go, but naturally, they're the ones in a cozy job, and it certainly wouldn't look good on their CV. I think failure to remain competitive and failure to innovate are the critical things, it's hard to manage something like that, but ultimately, that's why they're there, and that's why they get paid for it.

Re:Changing business (5, Insightful)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (5, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635006)

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.

Re:Changing business (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635132)

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!

Re:Changing business (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635188)

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.

Re:Changing business (5, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635206)

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.

Re:Changing business (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635186)

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.

Re:Changing business (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635216)

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

Re:Changing business (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635302)

Actually, they built those up. Yes, they sold, foolishly, but they built up both mining and chemicals.

Re:Changing business (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635344)

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?

Re:Changing business (5, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634988)

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:Changing business (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635004)

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 had all sorts of useful patents and innovations related to digital photography they just haven't been able to figure out how to make use of them. At this point I think the horses are out of the bag and just spilled the milk.

Re:Changing business (1)

eeek (83889) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635086)

Just like SCO filing chapter 11? ;)

Re:Changing business (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635274)

Just like SCO filing chapter 11? ;)

Yes, unfortunately. From SCO's official announcement [sco.com] :

Other companies such as Delta Airlines, Texaco, Dow Corning, K-Mart, United Airlines, Toys R’ Us, Macy’s Department Stores and others have emerged from Chapter 11 protection after restructuring themselves for success. We intend to do the same.

Re:Changing business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635462)

Hopefully?

Why exactly would one be hopeful that what is now an irrelevant company can turn itself around? Let it die and move on.

Of course they're dying (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Of course they're dying (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634996)

agreed they make awesome cameras and even printers that don't have expensive ink photo paper etc heck i even own all of those items but when do i ever use them yea that's a never.. when the last time you printed something or even upgraded your camera after 720p became standard in digital cameras.

Re:Of course they're dying (4, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Of course they're dying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635410)

I'm not sure if Berkshire Hathaway is a good example, but your point is taken.

Berkshire Hathaway was a failing textile company that Buffet thought he could profit from while running his hedge fund.

Read more here: http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=89b6d48e-6e0d-4131-a5d2-4b91f18feefa&_blg=207

kodak cameras aren't bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38634920)

I have worked with a few cheap digital kodak cameras at work around 2003-2004, and I loved them. They were so easy to use and you could understand all the features without reading the manual. If you have used panasonic, you would know how complicated they are to understand and use. Kodak on the other hand made it really simple and the pics are not bad. Exactly what an average user would expect (atleast I think so).

But which camera do I buy? Canon, almost everyone who don't know much about cameras buy a canon and I did too.

The panasonic that I also purchased just gave crappy photos, full of noise. Maybe I didn't know how to tune it, but hell, I just want to turn on a device and take photos and make it look decent enough without having to "correct" them on a computer. Canons are good at that, but I think kodaks were better and much cheaper.

Maybe I should have bought them, but the price was so cheap that I thought they weren't as good as I thought them to be.
Ah well, atleast I spent a lot of money on kodak reels before the going digital.

Sayonara kodak,

The article is weak (5, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634930)

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.

Re:The article is weak (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634944)

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

Re:The article is weak (4, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#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).

Re:The article is weak (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635494)

and is still getting 3% of their sale from film (most probable medical imaging).

And movie film. Despite the recent push for "shot in 3D - all digital" movies, most are still shot on film. And Fujifilm still makes movie film.

Re:The article is weak (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635036)

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 would be in the state they are today if they had accepted that digital was the way of the future and looked for ways to use the digital innovations to power their future growth rather than looking for ways to protect their film business.

Nikon and Canon don't really have to do much because they both have technology for plugging the camera directly into a printer and most people with cameras are able to figure out how to change memory cards. Anybody that could change film can change a memory card, it's just that much easier.

Additionally neither Nikon nor Canon was ever drawing money on film, the technology that they're working with hasn't changed that much since the first auto focus systems went into development. Probably one of the reasons why Canon's first foray into consumer digital photography with the s10 went so well.

Re:The article is weak (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635482)

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 like electronic parts do.

Kodak was known primarily for it's film and related products. That of course is not an easy transition to digital as it negates the need for film. It's hard for a company to do away with their core business voluntarily.

Fuji I also know for it's film, but indeed they (like many Japanese companies) were very broad based. And then picking up electronics production as needed to make their snapshot cameras like FinePix is also a less big transition.

Re:The article is weak (2)

governorx (524152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635142)

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.

Software (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38634936)

I always hated helping someone get their pictures off a Kodak digital camera.
Why Kodak could not use the standard USB mass storage device is beyond me.

Re:Software (3, Informative)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635100)

Probably because they thought proprietary was better. Another example would be Sony Hi-MD recorders. The one I have (MZ-RH1) can be used as a mass storage device (if the disc is in Hi-MD format) and can play mp3 files and yet, if I want to transfer a mp3 file to it, I have to use Sonic Stage. Why?

AFAIK (I do not have it), the Apple iPod is the same, as you have to use iTunes to copy music to it, even though it can be used as a mass storage device for other files.

Oh, and for both devices, there is no Linux version of that software, or even a portable one (so I could just plug it in a PC, start the software and transfer the music without installing any software). If this is done for copyright protection, then it does not work, as I can still copy the files, I just then have to go home to copy them to my PC then back on the disc so I can play them on the MD recorder.

Re:Software (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635524)

For the iPod I think it's to build the library metadata files.

I'd rather not have to be OCD and manage my library manually.

Litigation over innovation (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Classic disruptive techonology problem (5, Insightful)

robla (4860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634948)

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 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635062)

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 divisions. A decent CEO could turn that place around.

Re:Not just photography (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635114)

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.

I mean a boring hum-drum one then (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

wrong comps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38634958)

Kodak didn't lose to new cameras or phones. They were a write-once read many storage device manufacturer (based on weird chemicals) which lost out to ccds, hard drives and NAND memory once they became affordable. Nothing they made or did gave them an advantage in the digital image capture or storage world. There is no reason for them toexist except for nostalgists and nostalgia.

Re:wrong comps (1, Interesting)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635108)

As far as I understand, film still has its use - in very low temperatures (say, -30C), CCDs do not work as well as film. I am sure that there are special cameras with heated CCDs, but they would cost a lot, where film can be used with a (relatively) cheap camera.

Re:wrong comps (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635164)

As far as I understand, film still has its use - in very low temperatures (say, -30C), CCDs do not work as well as film. I am sure that there are special cameras with heated CCDs, but they would cost a lot, where film can be used with a (relatively) cheap camera.

Actually, that's backwards. At low temperatures, photographic film becomes brittle and must be heated. [kodak.com] On the other hand, CCDs have less noise at lower temperatures. [dpreview.com] Astronomers use cooled CCDs extensively. IR cameras often have cooled CCDs; if you want to image heat, you want as little extraneous heat as possible at the imager.

Eastman Kodak started as a chemical company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38634972)

Eastman Kodak started as a chemical company (or one acquired the other - I'm too lazy to Wikipedia it right now). However you slice it, they have always been a *film* company. Kodak's entire raison d'etre fell through with the advent of digital and they held fast too long to their core - fim processing chemicals - and didn't invest properly in other aspects of pictures. Sure, they had a digital camera, but they sucked :)

The name had something to do with its failure too! (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634974)

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 so long without any real innovation.

Other companies can boast of a host of publicly known innovations by the most important demographic - the teens and young adults.

Re:The name had something to do with its failure t (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635540)

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."

I remember just 6 years ago (4, Interesting)

tbird81 (946205) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:I remember just 6 years ago (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635076)

Harvard MBAs. Whaddya expect?

Re:I remember just 6 years ago... Kodak ate Ofoto (5, Interesting)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635300)

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... (4, Insightful)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634986)

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.

Re:Article lost me... (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635056)

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 resulted in some pretty amazing prints with relatively minimal effort.

Re:Article lost me... (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635112)

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 (3, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38634998)

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.

Re:No real conclusion (4, Interesting)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635152)

I just bought my girlfriend a dedicated Samsung camera that will connect to Facebook/Twitter/Email/Whatever via WiFi and upload directly from the camera. It is honestly a pretty sweet feature.

Re:No real conclusion (2)

glodime (1015179) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635226)

Sorry. I just used my mod points.

I also think that the author fails to recognize that Chapter 11 is used as a strategy for changing the company while preserving upper management.

Doubtful (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635010)

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 margins in them. Additionally, for a brand to have the prestige to sell a low end product, it must have a high end and upper mid-end product; Canon has dSLRs, Kodak had film... but now it doesn't.

The only way to make real money out of digital cameras is to produce high end cameras. By the time Kodak would've realised that they would have both lost the money and talent to get back into that game like Fujifilm has.

Re:Doubtful (3, Interesting)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#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 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635320)

Kodak is/was definitely a player in the high-end market.

They were a player in the dSLR market during the early days but they were too half hearted to keep on trying after their first major bungle and pulled out, betting the farm on low end digicams and printing instead.

Their sensors are used in the current top-end Leica (M9 and S-series) and are the best available.

Alas, they are not in a Kodak large-sensor camera, which is kind of the point (also, Leica sells very low volume). Sensors have almost zero impact on the public's brand awareness, unlike that fancy dSLR uncle Bob bought.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635246)

and being a typical American company they bungled what they did do, then gave up.

Excuse me? Ignoring the blatant ignorant false generalization, a company that files chapter 11 after over 120 years in business cannot be described as "bungling, then giving up." If that's a "typical American company," there wouldn't be any other kind of companies left in the world by now.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635306)

Sadly, what hapened to Kodak has happened in one American industry after another. Mismanage, downsize, outsource.

Kodak just didn't make good cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635072)

Kodak with their "easy share" docking stations, which never were too easy... and cheap cameras lost the "pro-sumer" crowd who were looking for cameras that they could rely on for taking quality pictures. Kodak never really made DSLRs (I may be wrong on this) nor did their camera's have manual modes. It seems as though more and more people are transitioning from the cheapo camera (think disposable) to capture a random moment here or there to cameras that will really document what was happening. People are investing more as they want to develop some skill and they turn to cameras that help them take good pictures. imho Kodak just never made good cameras. They made the cameras that made good christmas presents (cheap, had the right taglines with so many megapixels and zoom etc), but really just don't last.. think Walmart's NEXT line of bikes~

It's a tough market with amazing technological advances, Kodak opted more for colorful "easy" cameras. not to mention the xD card...

Because their cameras suck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635104)

Kodak just makes shitty digital cameras. At the consumer level at least.

The battery covers are very poorly made with a thin piece of brittle plastic to hold it in. Both the weight of the batteries pushing out on them, and the simple act of gently opening and closing the battery cover is enough to snap it off after a little while.

Their software interface when actually using the camera is poor, and counter productive. The things I'd like to do quickly are all hidden under a few menu layers, while the camera itself has buttons for useless functions I've yet to use once in ten years.

The software to interface with the camera is horrendous crapware. But that can be bypassed by using a memory card or mass storage mode.

Videos taken are locked into the .mov format, which is useless, and requires a QuickTime install, which is more horrendous crapware. In order to do anything with your video files, you pretty much have to buy QuickTime pro to convert them to a different format. (Although, some other tools exist for this now...)

And above all, the image quality of their cameras was never all that great. I've owned several low and mid range kodak digital cameras, and they always produce poorer results then almost any other brand in the same price range. The camera on my friend's iPhone 4 shouldn't be producing better images then my stand alone mid range kodak that cost hundreds of dollars. But it often does.

Kodak's digital era products aren't worthy of the Kodak name.

the real reason kodak failed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635126)

Kodak failed because they thought they could get away with making digital cameras that were as crappy as their old Instamatic and Brownie film cameras. Their digital cameras were utter dog shit. While the Japanese manufacturers steadily invested in improving the price/performance proposition of their cameras, Kodak squandered one opportunity after another by releasing cheap, mediocre cameras with lame features that few people wanted, like 3D and the ability to upload to a proprietary Kodak photo gallery.

Kodak Easy Share (3, Insightful)

Danzigism (881294) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

The Wolves are circling (1)

Grand Facade (35180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635194)

They can't wait to scoop up all that IP.

KODAK also killed OFOTO too.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635234)

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.

Photography no longer needs the Kodak Korporate Karma.

Re:KODAK also killed OFOTO too.... (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635280)

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.

Photography no longer needs the Kodak Korporate Karma.

*Smile*

Re:KODAK also killed OFOTO too.... (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635368)

You hinted at a big reason they utterly failed to enter any market that had a future. They tried with low end to middle of the road digital cameras but they didn't realize that their recognized name could only go so far in a new market. Their products sat on the shelves because they kept adding the "because we're Kodak" surcharge to the pricetag. They were easily outsold by respected brands in consumer electronics that were willing to actually compete for business.

That and, of course, consumer electronics companies were actually better ad developing consumer electronics than a film company. They might have made it if they could have grasped that for the purposes of a consumer electronic device, THEY were the upstart that had to prove itself.

3% of that statistic is not misleading. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635288)

What rubbish. I have no doubt that only 3% of photographs on Flickr are mobile phones; Flickr is made up of mostly professional camera operators. If a study was done on every camera click to determine how many photos were taken by mobile phones, professional cameras, traditional film cameras, etc. for a period of time... the percentage of mobile phone photos would be far, far higher than just 3%.

Re:3% of that statistic is not misleading. (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635314)

And sadly, you are correct.

Identity and communication? (2)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635290)

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.

They should have downsized long ago (2)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:They should have downsized long ago (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635404)

Or Kodak could focus on building a camera that takes 3D photos.

It's the next big thing in television (which, arguably, is taking it's time to penetrate, but that may have more to do with consumers having recently upgraded to larger sets, and not willing to ditch them immediately for a 3D technology that is still being worked on), why not photography?

At the very least, it would give them the technological edge for a few years, assuming they are first to market (for consumers, professionals, whatever), which assuming their executive staff isn't completely inept, would be a good thing, financially speaking.

Reasons for failure (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635392)

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 start selling cheap microwave ovens. It is possible but only with company downsizing and clear selection of its clients. And being proud that you only produce stove ovens.
3. No good products and no clear idea about future progress. No good SLR products, no pro-sumer range. Well this should be clear by now. It's digital. And having read about the product line from multiple sources tells that they trusted in film. Products were secondary. When film eventually died out in practice (especially in medical industry), somebody (investors?) told Kodak they are now standing in deep swamp. I don't know if they ever realized it themselves.

So hows come? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635452)

Why is it Kodak and other corporations can file bankruptcy and no one even flashes the "you're a deadbeat" look? And yes, I know you can't give a corporation a "look". They can mismanage funds and management can line their pockets raping the corporations finances and no one says dick. If a normal schmuck files bankruptcy (through job loss, medical catastrophe, mismanagement of funds, etc) society looks at them like they are a pariah. In some circles the person is deemed untrustworthy. just sayin'...

Finally the product placement stops (1)

mshenrick (1874438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38635504)

Now finally they can stop ruining music videos, and even songs themselves, with their desperate product placement! Now we just need mini to go bankrupt too

wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38635522)

camera phones certainly have eaten into kodak's traditional film, along with other digital cameras. Kodak has just gone the way of the telegraph, replaced by newer technology. It's naive to think that a business can just totally reinvent itself, it's not natural. Things change, obsolete companies go out of business, and that's a good thing, capitalism at work.

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