Thursday, February 9, 2012

It just keeps getting worse for Kodak

Kodak announced this morning that they were completely getting out of the digital business. It seemed like they exited this arena many years ago, but they made the move official today.

Sure, there will still be Kodak cameras available for sale, they are just licensing their name to other companies.

I owned a Kodak digital camera for a couple of years, and it worked pretty well for me. But the problem, was that they didn't do anything to differentiate themselves from every other company that was churning out digital cameras. Sure they had a boatload of patents, but as a casual end user, most other companies' products worked just fine for me.

But Kodak's complacency over the past 30 or 40 years has crushed them, and it has finally caught up to them. This is not unique among large companies and in fact, is a problem that most large companies have - but more on that in future articles.

Kodak will continue to get smaller while they try to figure out how to reinvent themselves and become relevant again. Sure, they can focus on photo printing, but printing will continue to be just a shell of what it once was, even just a decade ago. If Kodak ever hopes to make themselves great again, they will need to not only eventually shift back to digital, but become a leader in that area.

Kodak did not get into their current position overnight, and it will take a long time to get back on top. By acting nimbly and smart, they can reinvent themselves and become a major company once again.

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