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Kodak reported to be preparing for bankruptcy protection

By dpreview staff on Jan 4, 2012 at 22:08 GMT

Financial paper the Wall Street Journal is reporting that former photography giant Kodak is preparing for 'Chapter 11' bankruptcy protection. The company's shares fell below $1 per share yesterday, with the New York Stock Exchange announcing that the price must rise above this level within the next six months if the company is to avoid being de-listed (the share price must exceed $1 at the end of a calendar month and have averaged above $1 for the preceding 30 days). Reports claim that the company is planning to enter the court-administered Chapter 11 process if it cannot find a buyer for its portfolio of 1,100 patents covering many aspects of digital imaging.

Press release:

Kodak Receives Continued Listing Standards Notice from the New York Stock Exchange

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 3, 2012-- Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) today announced that the Company has received a continued listing standards notice from the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) because the average closing price of the Company’s common stock was less than $1.00 per share over a period of 30 consecutive trading days.

The Company’s common stock continues to trade on the NYSE. Under NYSE rules, the Company has six months following receipt of the notification to regain compliance with the minimum share price requirement. The Company can regain compliance at any time during the six-month cure period if the Company’s common stock has a closing share price of at least $1.00 on the last trading day of any calendar month during the period and also has an average closing share price of at least $1.00 over the 30 trading-day period ending on the last trading day of that month or on the last day of the cure period.

The Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements and debt obligations are not affected by the receipt of the NYSE notification.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SAFE HARBOR PROVISIONS OF THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995

Certain statements in this document may be forward-looking in nature, or "forward-looking statements" as defined in the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. For example, references to the Company's expectations regarding the following are forward-looking statements: the future trading price of the Company’s common shares; and compliance with or the Company’s ability to cure deficiencies under the NYSE listing standards.

Future events or results may differ from those anticipated or expressed in these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include, among others, the following risks, uncertainties, assumptions and factors as described in more detail in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2011, June 30, 2011, and September 30, 2011, under the headings "Risk Factors," "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," and "Cautionary Statement Pursuant to Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995" and in other filings the Company makes with the SEC from time to time:

  • Whether we can generate or raise cash and maintain a cash balance sufficient to fund our continued investments, capital needs, restructuring payments and service our debt;
  • Whether we can raise sufficient proceeds from the sale of non-core assets and the potential sale of our digital imaging patent portfolios within our plan;
  • Whether we are successful in licensing and enforcing our intellectual property rights on which our business depends, or if third parties assert that we violate their intellectual property rights which could adversely affect our revenue, earnings, expenses and liquidity;
  • The competitive pressures we face which could adversely affect our revenue, gross margins and market share;
  • Whether our commercialization and manufacturing processes fail to prevent product reliability and quality issues which could adversely affect our financial results, harm our reputation and delay product launch plans;
  • Whether we are successful with the strategic investment decisions we have made which could adversely affect our financial performance;
  • Whether we effectively anticipate technology trends and develop and market new products to respond to changing customer preferences which could adversely affect our revenue, earnings and cash flow;
  • Continued weakness or worsening of economic conditions which could continue to adversely affect our financial performance and our liquidity;
  • Whether we are successful in attracting, retaining and motivating key employees which could adversely affect our revenue and earnings;
  • Whether our future pension and postretirement plan costs and required contribution levels are impacted by changes in actuarial assumptions, future market performance of plan assets or obligations imposed by legislation or pension authorities which could adversely affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flow;
  • Due to the nature of products we sell and our worldwide distribution, we are subject to changes in currency exchange rates, interest rates and commodity costs which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial position;
  • Whether we are able to provide competitive financing arrangements to our customers or if we extend credit to customers whose creditworthiness deteriorates which could adversely affect our revenue, profitability and financial position;
  • Our failure to implement plans to reduce our cost structure in anticipation of declining demand for certain products or delays in implementing such plans which could adversely affect our consolidated results of operations, financial position and liquidity;
  • We have outsourced a significant portion of our overall worldwide manufacturing, logistics and back office operations and face the risks associated with reliance on third party suppliers.

The Company cautions readers to carefully consider such factors. Many of these factors are beyond the Company’s control. While the Company may elect to update forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so, even if its expectations change. In addition, these forward-looking statements represent the Company’s expectations only as of the date they are made, and should not be relied upon as representing the Company’s expectations as of any subsequent date.

Notwithstanding the opportunity for a six-month grace period to return to compliance with NYSE continued listing requirements, given the liquidity challenges confronting the Company and the recent market experience with our listed securities, there can be no assurance that the Company will return to compliance with the NYSE listing standards. Moreover, no assurance can be given that future actions by the Company or the marketplace will not give rise to alternative bases for potential delisting from the NYSE.

Any forward-looking statements in this document should be evaluated in light of the factors and uncertainties referenced above and should not be unduly relied upon.

Comments

Total comments: 115
12
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

First film raw stock manufacturer that went of of business was Orwocolor. Then, Ferraniacolor. Then, Sochicolor. Then, Agfacolor. And now, possibly Kodacolor?

What's next, I wonder? Fujicolor? Who is going to be left after them?

0 upvotes
ThomasH_always
By ThomasH_always (Jan 7, 2012)

Selling patents is a one time act of despair. As mentioned by others, Kodak suffers from ill designed, poor quality products. Outgunned by Japanese camera and chip makers completely. Even if someone would buy these patents, what than? They did not managed their transition into next stage, like Agfa did. Agfa moved away from consumer and photography in small steps, sold their film assets in a last move, while holding high profit industrial applications: Large print, medical rendering, specialty security print (money, badges etc), no name a few. They are a profitable company. Kodak's management never mastered the evolutionary transition. Their actions were either US-Style mass overnight layoffs, or holding on to dinosaurs which do not provide profit. A mass layoff always hits talent and dead wood alike, its the wrong way. As it seems, it is too late for them now.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

Thanks for all that good news, Thomas.

0 upvotes
Vegasus
By Vegasus (Jan 7, 2012)

It is sad that this company has fallen, I know this company making good product but I think they should make their company smaller, focus on one area, e.g. Compact Camera and DSLR, Making TOP Performance DSLR at affordable price e.g. full frame, highspeed but use nikon mount lens instead their own brand. Hopefully this way will make the company alive?

0 upvotes
LIGHT SABRE ELTERIBLE
By LIGHT SABRE ELTERIBLE (Jan 6, 2012)

I the equipment sales manager of a Kodak Express in South Africa and speaking purely from a quality point of view, Kodak's product quality has taken a remarkable dive in the last 5-10 years. Their obsessuion with delivering cheap and poorly manufactured products is severly damaging their reputation and is impacting on their market share. Obviously beeing a Kodak franchisee I am obliged to push the sale of these poor products. On average, over 40 % of the Kodak cameras that I sell are returned because of manufacturing defects. Over this christmas period I sold 70 Kodak c123's (their supposedly water-proof sports camera). Since January 1st I have had 23 comebacks due to water damage.

Kodak needs to improve there product quality so that they can restore the consumers confidence in their brand. If they arent willing to do that, they may just see that share price fall further and further!

1 upvote
Mr Punch
By Mr Punch (Jan 6, 2012)

Back in 1994 the photo lab I part-owned and ran invested in Kodak's Photo CD system.

Photo CD was a great system at the time, but Kodak would not get fully behind it. The 'Photo CD division' was staffed by knowledgeable, enthusiastic people but Kodak's senior management just didn't get it, and kicked it into a corner.

After 5 years of fighting with Kodak to get them to deliver on their promises, I vowed that I'd never deal with them again: they were too greedy, to arrogant and too stupid to do business with.

This decision was borne out around 2002 when I bought a second-hand Scitex scanner, not realising that the brand was now part of Kodak. We needed a replacement glass bed as the original had got scratched. Kodak insisted that we had to take out a maintenance contract - at £5000 a year - before they'd even talk to us. So we bought a £2000 Epson scanner instead - which proved to be a far superior product.

I don't believe that Kodak will survive.

0 upvotes
donthasslethehoff
By donthasslethehoff (Jan 6, 2012)

I've read many posts expressing sadness that this company will soon be no more. I feel no sadness for Kodak, as their fate was their own making, but I question those who don't understand that Kodak is going teets up because they were no longer an excellent company with excellent products. Sorry, but that's the truth.

0 upvotes
petrocan
By petrocan (Jan 6, 2012)

They are not a company with excellent product???

their ektar film is crap? the sensor employed on leica m9 or S2 is crap.

I don't know which medium format camera has their sensor too. But how can you say that their don't have great products??

I use the chemical for developping E6, and it's great product and so on on. Of course their don't just make excellent products, they fail too.

0 upvotes
donthasslethehoff
By donthasslethehoff (Jan 6, 2012)

This is what happens in the free market. Kodak leadership at first chose to go with digital then got outflanked by competitors who had more innovative ideas and better marketing.

While it is sad to see the 15k or so employees impacted by this, this is what happens as a result of a company not aiming for excellence.

1 upvote
RLPhotoAndImaging
By RLPhotoAndImaging (Jan 5, 2012)

It's a shame that due to the p!ss poor management over the past decade or so, that what once was a glorious and innovative company, has fallen into a mass of sh!t.
To Kodak execs: Congrats. You've managed to do nothing but waste $, pay yourselves huge amounts for crap performance, and prove to the world how worthless human beings you are.

0 upvotes
Geoff Brown
By Geoff Brown (Jan 5, 2012)

A very sad event if we lose one of the iconic American company's of the 20th Century

0 upvotes
donthasslethehoff
By donthasslethehoff (Jan 6, 2012)

No, it's sad that they chose not to innovate. George Eastman has likely been rolling in his grave for decades.

0 upvotes
Photo Junqie
By Photo Junqie (Jan 17, 2012)

Not sad for Kodak...sad for -us-. Sad for those of us who grew up with the magic of pictures, that Kodak made possible for even the poor - at least in America. Kodak allowed us to visually chronicle our lives, in a way that could not have been possible without their ubiquitous Brownie and other model cameras that were, yes, cheaply made even then but were cameras that the masses could own...film, developing and prints you could afford to pay for because the memories they preserved were more important than that new pair of shoes; that new Sunday hat. You youngsters who were born into the disposable world of the 70's - or later - may have a difficult time appreciating how much different the world was back then, and how important Kodak's contributions were to our lives.

1 upvote
Ernest M Aquilio
By Ernest M Aquilio (Jan 5, 2012)

It is quite a shame. A shame in that avid film users now may have one less choice of films to use. Personally I love Portra 160, 400 and 800. Best skin tones bar none IMO. I guess this really is becoming "no country for old men ".

1 upvote
intruder61
By intruder61 (Jan 5, 2012)

im happy using ilford and fuji

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Jan 6, 2012)

Yep. I used Ilford for b&w and Fuji for color back in the day.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

That day is today.

0 upvotes
Andrei Todea
By Andrei Todea (Jan 5, 2012)

The film company is dead.
OK... but isn't this the company that made the first DSLR, too?!!

0 upvotes
Rocketman777
By Rocketman777 (Jan 5, 2012)

I was born and raised in Rochester and watch a healthy 70,000 Kodak employed economy dwindled down to under 4000 today. Buildings boarded up, factories torn down and I can tell you first hand that Kodak suffered from the notion that they were"To Big To Fail". They never took Fugi seriously in either film or digital. MY good friend ran the board meetings where the top photographers in the county met with the top Kodak brass and she showed them numerically the danger they were in and this was supported by input from the photographers - this was 20 years ago. She was pulled aside after the meeting and was condescendingly told by a senior VP that this was "KODAK"! She soon quit her high level position and got a job with J&J - brilliant decision. The bottom line is Kodak management suppressed digital development because it was decided that it was cutting into film/chemical profits and therefore, never aggressively developed a ling term digital strategy. Short term bonuses ruled the day

3 upvotes
steveh0607
By steveh0607 (Jan 5, 2012)

Don't sell the patents! Use chapter 11 to rebuild the company.

0 upvotes
M T Wong
By M T Wong (Jan 5, 2012)

Well, I just come back with a half consumed Kodakchrome, and my Canon EOS Rebel G. Days are different from what they were ten years ago, when people had plenty of time to deal with their photos(have them printed, or wait to see the result for a "long" time). We all become more impatient, and thus make films "peculiar". We'll miss you, Kodak!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

Well, about 95 percent of motion pictures and network commissioned episodic television shows are still shot on 35mm film stock. Eastmancolor, Kodacolor, Fujicolor. Let's not do a premature burial episode here because one company is in financial distress.

0 upvotes
Lea5
By Lea5 (Jan 5, 2012)

It is the end, but there will be an new beginning.

It reminds me of another one big company, Francke & Heidecke who produced the Rolleiflex. They went out of business in 2009. Another company bought them and will produce new cameras in the future. I think with Kodak it will be the same. I guess the Company will be split, the filmline will completely die and the new owner will focus on competitive digital cameras.

0 upvotes
Dan Nikon
By Dan Nikon (Jan 5, 2012)

Actually it will hopefully be the other way around, Kodak will get out of the rat race printer and digital business and realize a much more realistic and streamlined film business, which happens to be profitable now. Ilford does not even make color film or film for the motion picture industry and they showed a profit in the past two years.

1 upvote
keepreal
By keepreal (Jan 5, 2012)

Yes it is a great shame about the Rollei, the twin lens models were beautifil cameras. I could never understand why they lost their popularity even before digital took over. Holding a digital compact (even a prosumer one) away from the body and shooting like that is something I have no intention of ever contemplating and an EVF is a poor substitue for an optical finder. But the position pushed against the waist for a Rollei or a Hasselblad with the regular finder worked well in most situations.

0 upvotes
petrocan
By petrocan (Jan 5, 2012)

to Dan Nikon,

That reminds me a lot of GM when they kill the EV-1 (their electric car) because they were afraid that sales of parts will suffered. Since electric required less part and more reliable. Well that's what I learn in the documentary who kill the electric car.

Those company that are so camped on their technology and not willing to move along are doomed to fail.

Example, someone remembers company that sells encyclopedia... That didn't see CD as a replacement, a few years later internet...

Who bought a encyclopedia lately?

Not saying film will disappear, I wish it will not, but it was writter in the sky that the digital based customer will eclipsed the film based. Look at fuji, they still have their film and bring it out nice digital camera.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jan 5, 2012)

Have you bought a Volt or Tesla? Why not?

Expensive printed textbooks continue to be obligatory in school systems, though $100 e-readers could make them unnecessary, but publishers still wring profits from taxpayers and students. Meanwhile, although word processing and the web make writing and research easier, haven't people become worse writers and more prone to copy or crib than think or write?

0 upvotes
petrocan
By petrocan (Jan 5, 2012)

I bought a civic hybrid though. It's true it depends on a lot of factors. But my point is company that don't do the technology shift are doom to fail. I didn't buy a tesla because it's expensive, you got a point of when to make the switch. When can agree when it's affordable for most people...

Company that don't rely on the avantage of computer and internet today are doom to fail too... you gotta make the shift when there's a shift.

Here in Quebec, Canada, all the blackboard are replace by electronic board, if a maker of blackboard didn't see that coming, he is force to close.

A company is not only producing goods, they need some vision of future. Why do you think apple is so succesful? they dictate the trends, they don't wait. They make it happen. Like it or not, a Imac is nicer than PC. A iphone is a very well build machine compare to some. Apple, Microsoft... understood the power of internet, they created the stupid Cloud... you know gotta create new stuff.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

"Why do you think apple is so succesful? they dictate the trends, they don't wait. They make it happen. Like it or not, a Imac is nicer than PC."

I tend to disagree on that. Apple is not particularly successful. Instead, they are smart and crude. They make awfully cheesy looking, retro-spec'd products and charge for them like they were actually cutting edge. When enough people can get fooled most of the time, financial benefits are heaped upon the perpetrator.

0 upvotes
sedentary_male
By sedentary_male (Jan 5, 2012)

Fuji annouce 20 new cameras on the day Kodak file for Chapter 11 - how the times have changed!!

2 upvotes
HarrieD7000
By HarrieD7000 (Jan 5, 2012)

99 percent of the film I used, were Kodak. The other 1 percent I did not buy myself. My first two digital camera's were Kodak. So I think I have a soft spot for the firm and the name. It would be sad, if only the name survives. In my opinion, the firm is in trouble, because they don't know the market of photography, or stil think they can tell the consumer what to buy. Now they see and feel what the market is about, it could be too late. It will be a black day for the world of photography if the firm has to close the doors forever.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

Where are people coming up with these dire doomsday scenarios from? The company is asking for Chapter 11 protection -- hurrah, they should protect themselves, no shame in that.

What that has got to do with film, I haven't a clue. Maybe not for finicky photographers, but cinematographers (motion pictures are larger budget episodic TV) will be demanding raw celluloid film stock for decades to come. Eastman Kodak and Fujifilm are the two primary providers of raw film stock in the world, and they are not going anywhere yet.

0 upvotes
icy2527
By icy2527 (Jan 5, 2012)

What about hi-end ccd in Astrography market ? Sony is not good enough to compete with Astrography ccd ,i can't imagine that If there's no Kodak chip for astrography . Importantly all astro-photographers say No to CMOS .

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Jan 5, 2012)

I think they sold that part of the firm back in November, to a private equity business.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 5, 2012)

"You push the button...and YOU do the rest". Once the film, chemicals and photofinishing went away, so did the repeat business. Kodak became a gas station in a world of electric cars. All that's left is to give Mr. Perez a huge severance package.

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Jan 5, 2012)

I like film. Digital is more convenient. Kodak was a digital leader in sensor. But they have no clue how to design a good camera body. They should buy a camera company when they still had the lead in sensor. That's what happens when one can't innovate fast enough.

0 upvotes
keepreal
By keepreal (Jan 5, 2012)

Their Retina range with the bellows up to the IIIc were beautiful cameras and I had one, so I think that saying they had no clue is way over the top.

Just like with cars the modern fashion seems to be to try and be as bulbous and ugly as possible, so may be Kodak had difficulty joining that dubious throng. There are still one or two exceptions to this of course but they hark back to a different era, when Kodak definitely was king.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Debankur Mukherjee
By Debankur Mukherjee (Jan 5, 2012)

A very SAD news...8-((

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jan 5, 2012)

Kodak prepares for bankruptcy while Fujifilm introduces a slew of new digital cameras. Wow, what a contrast. Clearly, one film company was able to make the digital transition, while the other did not.

1 upvote
Steve Balcombe
By Steve Balcombe (Jan 5, 2012)

Yes, it struck me as rather ironic that the Kodak announcement was very nearly pushed off the bottom of dpreview's news menu before I'd even noticed it - by THIRTEEN Fuji news items.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

I don't think digital has very much to do with the Eastman Kodak situation. Anyhow, their motion picture film side of the business is robust and demand is healthy, so one way or the other, that will continue for a few more decades. Alongside the Fujicolor offerings from Japan. The rest of what Kodak is doing, I am less sure about.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jan 5, 2012)

Maybe if those old guard film shooters stopped buying film and moved to digital years ago, the shock might have jolted Kodak to refocus and it would have survived as a company.

Something for the "film is superior to digital" and "I am young, I am hip and I shoot film" crowd to think about.

2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

Whatever you say, friend.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jan 5, 2012)

Maybe if those old guard film shooters stopped buying film and moved to digital years ago, the shock might have jolted Kodak to refocus and it would have survived as a company.

Something for the "film is superior to digital" and "I am young, I am hip and I shoot film" crowd to think about.

1 upvote
Dan Nikon
By Dan Nikon (Jan 5, 2012)

I'm glad you wrote this twice, because I could not believe how lame it was the first time I read it. Just because a craftsman who works with wood used particle board on one side of a desk does not mean he never uses oak again, get it?

For example, in 1994, I helped lead a larger midwest newspaper to go fully digital in using a pair of then cutting edge Kodak / AP NC2000 digital cameras based on the Nikon N90 body with a 1.3 megapixel, less than DX sized sensor. Since then, some 18 years later, I have shot close to a million digital images.

But I never left film, never will, use it more and more every day actually and now shoot only about 20% of my work on digital per year.

So in short, what you wrote up above is digital fan boy garbage.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jan 5, 2012)

I didn't write it twice. DPreivew was down for a while last night so I wasn't aware my first comment went through.

As to your comment, has that newspaper moved back to film like you or have they upgraded to even more cutting edge digital cameras?

You went back to film for artistic reason. Someone tomorrow can give up digital photography and start splash painting. It doesn't mean it is superior to digital in representing the scene.

In addition, my comment was on how Kodak bided on film shooter to sustain their business. They over-estimated the number of shooters and their consumption of film. (Gees, if you read this comment section you'd believe half of all still photography is still done on film)

In short, the old guard and hipsters coupled with ineffective management killed Kodak.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

Thank you for saying this for all of us, Dan. People like Pelasdf have been "burying film" since the 1960s, it seems.

@ Pelasdaf: Sir, when you respond to someone's comment, kindly read it first. Dan Nikon never stated that he or anyone else had moved BACK to film -- merely, that he had never moved AWAY from it himself. But I guess for those who can only own and use one single camera at a time, it is a hard, stark choice. Film OR digital, I mean. Pelasdf, all in all your comment is pretty nasty and wholly unsubstantiated. Reading it, one would think that it was you who had invented digital photography or whatnot.

0 upvotes
pluton
By pluton (Jan 5, 2012)

Kodak upper management was already making idiotic decisions as early as the 1970's. Apparently their board of directors were nepotistic, old-money types from way back. They blew it.

1 upvote
Maxfield_photo
By Maxfield_photo (Jan 5, 2012)

This is heartbreaking news. Every photographer here, whether they know it or not, and whether they admit it or not has had their craft profoundly influenced by Kodak. We owe them a lot.

It is ironic that they invented the beast that eventually killed them, but what is truly sad is that young photographers, just a few years from now, will not be able to experience the joy of shooting a roll of Kodak film. Here's hoping for a miracle.

0 upvotes
Dan Nikon
By Dan Nikon (Jan 5, 2012)

It is heartbreaking Max, but there will be Kodak film in black and white around for a number of years, there is a lot of existing stock and some deep pockets around that will do like I have and buy it up and store it sub-zero. Compared to my relatively dinky stash of 3,000 rolls, I have friends who are going to be storing many times that amount. Add to that the fact that the film division of Kodak is the most profitable, it could very well be spun off to a more manageable and profit realistic venture that could be around for many years. This could be the beginning of what really matters to many...

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

Never heard anything as to why Kodak's film business might be going away, since they are still making and selling Super 8, 16mm, and 35mm movie film stock like hotcakes, and can even provide 65mm film stock on demand. Fujifilm is also doing very well with Fujicolor deliveries worldwide. Whether it will be Kodak making Eastman color stock or a company w. a different name, celluloid raw stock will be with us for a few more decades, I am pretty sure.

0 upvotes
jpetts
By jpetts (Jan 5, 2012)

I worked for Kodak in Wealdstone (their first research lab was there, not in Rochester, NY, by the way) between 1985 and 1989. At that time we were not allowed to refer to Fuji (and 3M, who used to make most of the own-brand products) as competitors. We had to call them "other manufacturers."

The corporate headquarters on State St in NY were palatial, at least those for the high mucky-mucks, and the company had its own hangar at Rochester Airport too.

The company was completely out of touch with the real world, and never made it back, according to friends of mine who worked there as late as 2002.

I once participated in a corporate brainstorming/predictive exercise to guess when digital would take off as a consumer option. There were engineers and business folks from around the company involved, and we estimated that some time between 1998 and 2002, the market would shift dramatically at the consumer end. We actually got it pretty close, but nobody cared.

What a lost opportunity...

2 upvotes
Don Davis
By Don Davis (Jan 5, 2012)

Whatever the reasons, I am saddened to see them go. Many jobs lost and lives changed...

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Jan 5, 2012)

Of all the possible things you could say Kodak did wrong and caused their ultimate failure.... "selling cheap point and shoot cameras" shouldn't be on that list.

Kodak was the company that brought the price of photography down, so common people could take their own photos without going to photographer's studios.

Kodak was the company that made cameras a mass market item, and not something for enthusiasts only.

Sure, they made a handful of high end cameras (mostly imports from Germany) but Kodak had an 84% market share when they were selling point and shoot Brownies.

This is a company that built it's success on cheap point and shoot cameras. Priced relatively similar to their digital easyshare cameras when you adjust for inflation.

2 upvotes
morganb
By morganb (Jan 5, 2012)

lets go Fuji! and maybe that rumored fuji leica partnership can come to be.

1 upvote
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Jan 5, 2012)

Wonder if they will sell off their sensor manufacturing to someone. The Leica M9 and Hassy sensors are made by Kodak, right? They need the supply.

0 upvotes
AlanG
By AlanG (Jan 5, 2012)

I hate to break the news to you but they sold the sensor division last November.

0 upvotes
keepreal
By keepreal (Jan 5, 2012)

I think it is a bit harsh to dam Kodak even if there was an element of arrogance in their heyday. At its best Kodak was great and almost without peer in many aspects of photography and for a long, long time too.

It is not so unusual - look at Gevaert, Adox and Agfa who once made great films, papers and chemicals. Also, there are a lot of companies in photography who are still around but not what they used to be, like Zeiss, Linhof, Schneider, Meyer, Ilford...

Sooner or later it will happen to even the best of us - companies and people. Decline is inevitable, regrettably, and we should be a little sad rather than scathing.

4 upvotes
Walt6675
By Walt6675 (Jan 5, 2012)

I owned a camera store & custom lab and had a lot of dealings with Kodak.
Kodak forgot who made them great, the little guy. They sell film, photo paper &
chemistry, cameras etc. to big box retailers who in turn would retail their products for less than I could buy them from Kodak. GOOD RIDDANCE

2 upvotes
love_them_all
By love_them_all (Jan 5, 2012)

Large chain stores are killing the market. They will never carry specialty items or items they think could only sell in small quantity.

0 upvotes
mrmart
By mrmart (Jan 5, 2012)

Can't say I have any sympathy with Kodak. Their arrogance over the years is legendary. Good ridance.

5 upvotes
Maxfield_photo
By Maxfield_photo (Jan 5, 2012)

Where's the "dislike" button?

3 upvotes
Dan Ortego
By Dan Ortego (Jan 5, 2012)

It's very sad indeed. Harley-Davidson and even Leica had problems until someone came along to re-focus their direction. To this day I still see a clear difference in film vs. digital and the film is usually more appealing. It's my understanding, the DxO film pack sold like crazy over the holidays just so folks could emulate the look. I was in the market for a new FF camera and I considered the Nikon F6 but opted for the Sony A900 instead. It sure would be uplifting if they could somehow re-tool, get small, and keep the brand going - wishful thinking I know.

Dan

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Biggstr
By Biggstr (Jan 5, 2012)

Goodbye Kodak! And I put my money where my heart was ... losing thousands of dollars in Kodak stock. Kodak invented digital photography. But if they were late to digital, for years they had more than enough resources to buy their way out of the morass. Now, it's too late! Instead, Kodak brought in a no-name from HP as CEO who, instead of following in the footsteps of Fujifilm and moving from film into sensors (a Kodak strength), tried to transform Kodak into a printer company. [?] Both the CEO and the Board of Directors should have been fired years ago. Now, Kodak extends the agony and the divestment by selling off core resources to finance its continued loses. Soon there will be nothing left. Sans the sensor division and their patents, what is Kodak ... an Asian-owned brand name selling cheap point-and-shoot cameras?

0 upvotes
Don Simons
By Don Simons (Jan 5, 2012)

Old company, old management, too slow to react, they had it all too good for too long, complacency is not good. Didn't happen at Fujifilm. That is the way of the world in business.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

I guess nobody here understands what filing for a Subchapter 11 protection really means. In a way, this is good news for the company. I'm not worried that "film is going to be dead" just because this development.

0 upvotes
Jeff Morris
By Jeff Morris (Jan 5, 2012)

Well this is a sad day for all photographers. I can not say it wasn't their fault. They invented photography for the masses. I have a collection of over 400 Kodak box cameras with a few folders for good measure. Growing up in the 50's and 60's Kodak was known for superb quality films and paper, their technology behind the chemical process and Digital was second to none. Most on these forums do not understand how important a company Kodak was and could have been.

However, Kodak was too big, a titanic on the oceans, slow to move with the times and so big they thought they would go on forever. (Like many giant American companies to numerous to mention.) I feel for the thousands of good dedicated people who have lost their livelihood and the thousands that will soon.

If only they had looked at digital technology as more than a fad. I know they held hundreds of important digital patents. If only they could have transformed that expertise into viable product for the consumer.

1 upvote
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Jan 5, 2012)

The real problem of digital for Kodak was that their business model was constructed on consumables (film, paper, chemicals). Digital was immediately touted as the way to free the photographer from film and later lab prints or prints altogether. The money in digital is in selling subscriptions, advertising and hardware. None of those areas was Kodak's core business.

Every bit of the photo industry today as we know it (with the exception of the tiny niche markets such as tripods, ballheads, lights etc.) is a commodity business with microscopic margins.Kodak enjoyed huge gross margins for decades and never developed a cadre of mangers that could mange the change to tiny margin businesses.
Sad to see them go but their demise is a confluence of many factors and not just iffy management.

3 upvotes
Donglei
By Donglei (Jan 5, 2012)

A legend is gone. RIP, the real film brand.

2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 9, 2012)

Everybody's doing burials this week, it seems. ;-)

0 upvotes
DioCanon
By DioCanon (Jan 5, 2012)

very very sad,
another piece of photography industry goes...

but to be honest after a great start in digital the quality of the pictures, side by side with a Canon or Panasonic, is just terrible...

2 upvotes
rvalle
By rvalle (Jan 5, 2012)

This is sad, sad news.
I am using old, cheap, medium format Mamiya gear (645) to produce some of the most compelling shots of my family I ever did. I absolutely love the look of Portra 400 and Ektar in 120 format.
I want to use it for years to come, but this is now in danger!!
Horrible news...

0 upvotes
ulfie
By ulfie (Jan 5, 2012)

Film is almost dead. So is Kodak.

1 upvote
makofoto
By makofoto (Jan 5, 2012)

The "funny" thing is that a lot of photo students shoot film. That's about all my son will use. I know two people who recently built darkrooms. Both make their living in the digital motion picture biz

1 upvote
bobbarber
By bobbarber (Jan 5, 2012)

You can't get away from film if you want the best image quality. I shoot mostly digital, but I don't see film as being dead, anymore than newspapers are dead. Film still fulfills a need, just much narrower in scope than before.

1 upvote
steveh0607
By steveh0607 (Jan 5, 2012)

I don't see any reason to learn on film using manual cameras (if you can even find them anymore). Why learn photography using an outdated medium? Digital is far more flexible and gives much better results. Experimenting with film or glass plates should be encouraged only after new students learn digital.

0 upvotes
ToddSC
By ToddSC (Jan 5, 2012)

Kodak will live on - Chapter 11 does not mean that it will completely go under. It will reorganize, sell off parts and maybe have a large investor buy into their company.

Kodak is still the 800 pound gorilla in the print business. I work at a photo lab and people still want Kodak. Their paper and chemicals is a mainstay for their company. Others have hit on it though - they went thru what many companies did in the 80's and 90's - buying products that were somehow related but not in their core competency. After floundering with these other products they jettisoned them at a huge loss . Big bloated companies get their belts tightened when lean times come on. Add to that their lack of competitiveness in Digital and it is going to be a rough future - but one they will endure, I hope.

0 upvotes
Paulo Ferreira
By Paulo Ferreira (Jan 5, 2012)

"You press the button, we do the rest" can now be used for toilet flush advertising... down the pan!

1 upvote
Tlipp
By Tlipp (Jan 5, 2012)

Cannot they reinvent themselves ?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Jan 4, 2012)

Kodak reminds me of Atari, a little bit; they held the future in their hands for a while, but ended up little more than a bunch of patents, and then the only thing left was a name. I wonder if people will start stockpiling Ektar and Ektachrome and so forth?

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Jan 4, 2012)

Well, the other part of the equation is how many places are still going to process it?

0 upvotes
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Jan 5, 2012)

That was part of the problem, tipping points. Oh sure you can say you're going to keep shooting Kodachrome and print on paper, but in reality the manufacturing volume of these things cannot fall smoothly and gradually to zero. They can be mass-produced only to a point, and then once demand falls below a certain number, it is no longer economical to manufacture them or for vendors (like slide film processors) to offer services, maintain their equipment, and train their staff. At that point, you get a sudden cutoff. All of a sudden you can't get your film anymore, and you can't get your stockpiled film processed.

At least Ektachrome can be processed much more easily than Kodachrome.

1 upvote
flektogon
By flektogon (Jan 5, 2012)

Rather Amiga (Commodore).

1 upvote
harvy3317
By harvy3317 (Jan 4, 2012)

For some (alot) of reasons I am not suprised. As with anything, you gotta grow, you gotta make changes and make the fight. Its a dog eat dog world and they never bit back. Technology changes and if you plan on being around you gotta change, become better or get out of the way. Mention the name Kodak and see the looks and response you get. They were dead along time ago, its just finally they stepped out.

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Jan 4, 2012)

The sad thing is that the change to digital was so obvious and sweeping, even a blind man couldn't miss seeing it. How do you miss this tide change and end up like a beached boat? It's truly as if they had no plan or vision for how they would fit into the age of digital photography.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Jan 5, 2012)

Kodak didn't miss digital, they were actually one of the innovators. But success is a total package, including sales, marketing, and having the ability to be in touch with what the customer really wants out of that pile of generic electronics.

Kodak was like Creative Labs, who pioneered the MP3 player with the Nomad. But so what? People didn't want their version. People realized they wanted it to work like the Apple iPod. So Creative Labs got Kodaked. It turned out that in digital photography, the companies who really "got it" included Sony, Panasonic, Apple (iPhone camera), etc, who sell millions of respected cameras now, but were never known for cameras before digital. They are the ones who are taking the money Kodak used to make. Canon and Nikon also understood digital as well as film.

0 upvotes
Photomonkey
By Photomonkey (Jan 5, 2012)

The margins in cameras are tiny. Kodak made money on consumables that you bought over and over again.

Saying they should have changed is easy but what should they have changed to? Their shareholders wanted fat profits. Digital does not make fat profits on the scale that Kodak shareholders demanded.
In 1995 Kodak made a profit of 1.29 Billion dollars on revenues of 14.96 Billion. Canon by comparison made 2.24 billion in profit on approx 36 billion in sales in 2010 with approximately 51% of that coming from the office products division.

2 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jan 5, 2012)

Think of it: a product the manufacturer lists for $400, on which it might earn $40 net, but must discount to $320 to get off the shelves within a year. Not even the auto business is that wicked. Samsung, by concentrating on phones or tablets, may have a wiser business model. The companies must continue to make cameras for the same reason GM persisted with Olds, Pontiac, or Saturn: inertia and nostalgia.

0 upvotes
Solarcoaster
By Solarcoaster (Jan 4, 2012)

All together now,

"FILM IS DEAD!!!"

0 upvotes
Dan Nikon
By Dan Nikon (Jan 4, 2012)

Glad you got that out of your system, because obviously, film is far from dead.

2 upvotes
Solarcoaster
By Solarcoaster (Jan 4, 2012)

Oh, the guy who said he was quitting months ago, I guess you're still here reveling in your denial of the end of film. Have fun!

1 upvote
john
By john (Jan 5, 2012)

not yet, there are still large among of TV commerical and movies are still produced on film, and most hospital still use film for x-ray, and film never dead, once processed, they last 100-200 years, can you tell me any floppy disk or hard disk can last that long?

0 upvotes
Gerard Hoffnung
By Gerard Hoffnung (Jan 5, 2012)

Sorry John, but in North America at least, almost all hospitals and even relatively small clinics are doing diagnostic imaging in digital format. Heck, even my dentist uses digital.

2 upvotes
petrocan
By petrocan (Jan 5, 2012)

why people are happy that film are dead. Dam I have 4 digicams, but i have more film shooting film. please let me continue to have fun...

1 upvote
Ladisai
By Ladisai (Jan 5, 2012)

The hospital I work at uses digital imaging system. And they store 2 identical copies of data at 2 different locations to avoid damage from disasters like fire accident or earthquake.

I love film. I enjoy my old Nikon FM2. But it's really pointless to argue that film is better than floppy disk or hard disk.

1 upvote
darrelllarose
By darrelllarose (Jan 4, 2012)

"My work is done, why wait?"

~ George Eastman (1854-1932)

0 upvotes
Gregm61
By Gregm61 (Jan 4, 2012)

Sad, but hardly suprising. They did it to themselves by keeping their head in the sand and not shifting to digital imaging soon enough. They could have disappeared 5 years ago and I never would have known it. I think 2004 was the last year I bought a roll of film of any brand.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (Jan 4, 2012)

They were actually one of the first into digital; e.g. the huge Nikon based SLRs. They were also a market leader in compacts at one point. Their problem was that they produced sub-par product for too long. The shift away from film also occurred faster than they expected. And lately their printing market has been drying up.

FujiFilm is still around today because they produced good product. Thats about it.

4 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (Jan 4, 2012)

Greg... the irony of all this is that it was a Kodak engineer, Bryce E. Bayer, who essentially invented the digital imaging sensor. But you're right, they waited to long to move to digital, and failed to recognize that selling film, paper and chemicals just wouldn't sustain the company over the long haul.

In recent years, most of Kodak's income has come from royalty payments on their patents. And those patents are the only thing they have left with much value.

1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Jan 4, 2012)

Most kids these days have never even held a roll of film or maybe even seen on in real life. Hmmm, frankly, it's been quite a few years since *I've* held or seen a roll of film in real life!

Sadly, I have binders full of negatives and slides that may never see the light of day again. I just don't have time to sift through them and digitize them. Too busy producing new images that are /already/ digitized from the beginning.

1 upvote
graybalanced
By graybalanced (Jan 5, 2012)

It also started before digital. Kodak had their marketing head in the sand as far as the 1984 L.A. Olympics when they felt a sponsorship was beneath them. So Fuji took the sponsorship, got their name all over the Olympics, and put their cheaper brand in front of America, starting a long undercutting of Kodak's bread and butter.

1 upvote
Dan Nikon
By Dan Nikon (Jan 5, 2012)

T3, you need to broaden your horizons then in terms of what kids you talk to, I get SO many young photo enthusiasts who come up and talk to me about the cameras I use and say they love shooting film because it gets them away from what has been rammed down their throats since birth as being the second coming, digital and the internet. I also teach workshops based around real photography in real darkrooms using real film, more than have of those who participate are younger than 30 and up to 25% are younger than 25. Seems like you need to get out more...in the real world, not the garbage internet one.

0 upvotes
steveh0607
By steveh0607 (Jan 5, 2012)

Real photography? Using film? Real photographers still use glass plates. Don't go modern on us and go over to film.

Technologies always evolve. Perhaps those students never learned just how creative digital photography can be.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 115
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