It’s the fall of a one-time giant in its industry.
The Eastman Kodak Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today. Founded in 1892, the 120 year old company practically owned the market of camera film during during much of the 20th century.
Film… many young adults in today’s world would have no idea how to load film into a camera. They wouldn’t recognize those Kodak yellow boxes, or know the value of each individual snapshot. When you had to pay to have each picture developed, you didn’t indiscriminately snap away at everything hoping for one good shot.
But film has gone the way of that old, heavy, black, thick-corded, phone that our grandparents used to use. And while the world changed, Kodak didn’t. Or didn’t enough. Kodak did make the very first digital camera that was widely available to consumers – and they made it for Apple – the Apple QuickTake. But Kodak itself did not aggressively pursue the digital arena. That, coupled with the intense competition in the film industry during the 90’s that ate into their film market share just before the digital camera revolution took hold, just gobbled up Kodak’s business plan.
Now Kodak is trying to earn revenue through sales of it’s patents and lawsuits against patent infringers, as a way to keep itself going.
How will Kodak’s bankruptcy affect shoppers? For most of us, it won’t. Which is why they are going bankrupt.
Kodak is filing a type of bankruptcy that allows them to reorganize their debts. It’s not likely that they will go completely out of business. Will they continue to make film and disposable cameras? There has been mixed news on that front. While those lines continue to be profitable, they are much smaller that they once were, and the profits have been steadily shrinking each year. One of Kodak’s main customers for film now is the movie industry, but, with a few exceptions, they too are rapidly moving into all digital production and distribution.
Kodak does have other products, from new digital cameras to personal and commercial printers, and provides many photography related services through it’s website, Kodak.com. But what will survive the bankruptcy is unknown. What Kodak does not keep through bankruptcy will likely either not have demand, or be picked up… or is already offered by, competitors. This lack of uniqueness, or even a flagship product, it what will make Kodak’s bankruptcy inconsequential to shoppers,