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Sirius Glass
08-21-2012, 08:54 PM
Kodak worked really hard to make and market digital cameras from the start. They just could not get a popular design and the other companies could put out many more designs even faster.

Prof_Pixel
08-21-2012, 09:03 PM
It was clear to us right from the start, that camera sales weren't going to make enough money to sustain the company which was based on the sales of consumables. PhotoCD and on-line photo services were an attempt to get consumables. Ink jet printer inks have done well for Epson and HP, but Kodak was late to enter the game because they were pushing dye sublimation printing.

rbeech
08-21-2012, 09:22 PM
What's a newspaper?

Prof_Pixel
08-21-2012, 09:30 PM
What's a newspaper?

An analog news delivery device rapidly being replaced by digital delivery on the web.

Photo Engineer
08-21-2012, 11:07 PM
Kodak did try to use DVDs and CDs as consumables, but they seriously mis-estimated the price curve of these products. They lost $$.

PE

RattyMouse
08-22-2012, 08:11 AM
Kodak did try to use DVDs and CDs as consumables, but they seriously mis-estimated the price curve of these products. They lost $$.

PE

I used to buy Kodak VHS tapes!

Steve Roberts
08-22-2012, 09:03 AM
I think there are many reasons (most of which have been outlined here) but additionally to those like me who started photography in the 1970s or before, "photography" was usually associated in some way with Kodak, Ilford, Agfa and a few others. Whatever brand of camera/lens you might buy, you'd probably use one of their products to shoot or print on. All of a sudden, the advent of digital cameras meant that photography became the domain of Sony, HP, Samsung, Panasonic and a wealth of others plus the computer and software people. Many of the results of these never got as far as being printed, so the materials market probably shrunk dramatically (my guess). Ilford and Agfa hit the doldrums some time ago and Kodak are a case of 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall'. I find it hard to see how Kodak could ever have competed when the photography market was suddenly thrown wide open to so many electronic giants. Perhaps if they'd realised the potential of the digital still camera they'd invented much earlier and invested a huge amount of money into patent protected development, they might have stolen a march on their competitors, but I suspect that would have been temporary. Perhaps diversification would have been the answer, as with Fuji, so that we could now be tucking into bags of Kodak Crisps (OK, 'chips' to those in the US).
Steve

Photo Engineer
08-22-2012, 10:04 AM
I used to buy Kodak VHS tapes!

However, this same VHS tape was never suitable for production purposes because it stretched too much. This could mean that after several uses, a 1 hour program might run over by as much as 30 seconds (IIRC). The big networks never used it, and thus it was an amateur product only. Eventually, it died.

PE

wblynch
08-22-2012, 02:19 PM
Opinions...

1) The major US Economic Depression must have had some impact.

2) Kodak abandoned film advertising and promotion. Adding fuel to the perception that, "no one makes (or uses) film any more".

3) Kodak should have bought Adobe

4) Kodak should have competed with Xerox in the early days and owned that "imaging" market.

5) Kodak doesn't realize they are in the industrial coating business, not the "picture" business. They should have leveraged those coating capabilities into new products beyond photography.

* Imagine if Kodak invented a way to coat automobiles and eliminate liquid paint and all the associated hazards *

pbromaghin
08-22-2012, 03:11 PM
Opinions...

1) The major US Economic Depression must have had some impact.



I think that over the last 80 years Kodak had recovered quite nicely from that.

wblynch
08-22-2012, 03:58 PM
We are in it now

Photo Engineer
08-22-2012, 04:19 PM
Agfa, Ilford and a few other companies survived economic turmoil. Now we have assault on 2 fronts. This is worse than ever before and so I would have to agree with the statement that the economy has hurt EK. See the thread on EFKE.

PE

pbromaghin
08-22-2012, 05:24 PM
The economy has hurt, but to call this a depression is utter nonsense and shows a complete lack of historic perspective and knowledge.

RattyMouse
08-22-2012, 05:31 PM
The economy has hurt, but to call this a depression is utter nonsense and shows a complete lack of historic perspective and knowledge.

Totally agree.

Photo Engineer
08-22-2012, 05:33 PM
I was alive and kicking during the great depression. Since a war was joined with it, it is hard to make comparisons with it. Only a historical analysis will be able to tell us how they compare.

PE

pbromaghin
08-22-2012, 05:55 PM
Well, according to the US Dept of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US GDP shrank (or "receded", hence we had a "recession") in Q2 and Q3 of FY 2008. It has grown (however slowly) every quarter since then. That doesn't fit any definition of a depression I've ever heard, and to declare it as such is to insult people like PE who were actually there. Hell, even the late '70s and early '80s (when I was trying to get a start as a breadwinner), while not comparable to the 1930's, were far worse worldwide economic conditions than we have now.

Photo Engineer
08-22-2012, 07:18 PM
Well, if you look at the middle class, home reposesions, the number unemployed, the stagnation of the stock market, the condition of the Euro in Greece, Spain, Italy and etc... Something is going on!

Lets call it a global economic meltdown. :D

And calling it a depression is not taken as an insult. Things are bad right now any way you look at it.

PE

wblynch
08-22-2012, 08:26 PM
Doesn't have to be the "Great Depression" to be a depression.

If you've lost your home, your job, your life savings and had your pension stripped away right in front of you, you would consider it a depression.

A great many people find themselves in that position.

Face it, the US has stripped the working class of most of it's wealth and income.

Has to affect frivolous purchases -- like film.

Photo Engineer
08-22-2012, 10:54 PM
Doesn't have to be the "Great Depression" to be a depression.

If you've lost your home, your job, your life savings and had your pension stripped away right in front of you, you would consider it a depression.

A great many people find themselves in that position.

Face it, the US has stripped the working class of most of it's wealth and income.

Has to affect frivolous purchases -- like film.

That was my point with efforts to leave out all of the pain!

PE

benveniste
08-22-2012, 11:46 PM
Kodak invented the digital camera. Though it is understandable that they were afraid of developing it at the time due to the threat it would pose to their film business, what was the thinking at the company that caused them to remain film centric after both their competitors and previously non photographic companies had begun to gain ground in the digital market?

Kodak made multiple efforts to avoid becoming "film centric," but there were a lot of failures along the road. Remember the KODAVISION 8mm video system? KEEPS? Kodak IMAGELINK Copiers? OPTISTAR printers? ULTRALIFE and SUPRALIFE batteries? Me neither. How about their "catch and release" of Sterling Drug?

When a company has a "cash cow" as Kodak did with film, all too often they forget how to innovate. Look at Kodak's own Milestones (http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Our_Company/History_of_Kodak/Milestones_-_chronology/1990-1999.htm) for the 1990's. How much real innovation do you see?


Why did they not streamline their film business in order meet the new, smaller demand for film?

Streamlining of that type is extremely difficult. Everything, from manufacturing to the distribution and even corporate organization is designed for large scale. Your mid-level managers are often ill-suited to running a more streamlined operation, and since many of them will end up losing their jobs a turf war is inevitable. Kodak tried shrinking its way to profitablity, but it didn't work.


Also, why have they cut back on transparency film and kept lower end consumer film, which is surely a faster shrinking market?

Transparency use among commercial photographers shrank extremely quickly, and it was a smaller market to begin with. My local lab stopped processing E6 film about 2 years ago because the chemicals were going stale.


At what point did Fuji really gain the upper hand over Kodak when it came to digital?

Fuji was also a "me too" player in digital. But since they were a more diversified company than Kodak, they were able to survive the shift a bit better.


Why did Kodak move away from the professional end of digital photography and concentrate on the lower profit consumer end when they had less experience in the latter?

Because they knew once Canon got serious about dSLR's they couldn't win. Kodak wasn't a chip maker and hadn't made professional grade still photography gear for decades. For example, take a look at the Kodak DCS 14n. It was built around Nikon's N/F80 instead of the F100 or even F5, and everything about it shouted cost cutting in all the wrong places. Nikon was in a similar fight for survival. It won, but even with some big advantages over Kodak it was a very near thing. Had a couple of critical products not been as good as they were, Nikon would where Pentax is today.

Kodak thought it understood consumer photography and that expertise would transfer over to digital. In reality, they had been playing catch-up in consumer photography rather than leading. When consumers were buying cameras like the Canon AE-1, Olympus XA or even the Canonet QL, Nikon literally had nothing to offer. It took them until 1986 to make a 35mm point-and-shoot. They let other companies take the lead in everything from minilabs to disposable cameras. APS wasn't a bad system, but at the end of the day, the convenience features didn't make up for offering lower quality at higher processing costs. With enthusiasts staying with 35mm and more casual users opting for disposables, APS never really found a niche.


If digital had not arrived, where would Kodak be today? Would they have stagnated anyway in terms of creativity (APS didnít exactly take of as the company had hoped) and been overtaken by more modern and creative companies regardless of the invention of digital?

They'd still be sharing a cash cow with Fuji on film, which, as it did from 1980-2000, serve to mask the fact that Kodak had forgotten how to innovate and compete. So while Kodak wouldn't be a healthy, growing company, it would probably hold on for an extra decade.