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Kodak: another one bites the dust

Kodak has filed for Chapter 11. Not particularly surprising, but kind of sad. Here is a great article on why Kodak failed to which I want to add an anecdote.

In early 2001 I visited Australia and on the trip back (I think) I talked to a person moving out of Australia that had been a manager at a Kodak shop. By the 2001, developing of film had changed. It was all about scanning and digitalizing. Having just been in Japan I'd see that Fuji was all over scanning. So I wondered what Kodak was doing about that. And the woman told me nothing. She said that for years they'd been complaining to the central office about how expensive their development process was and that it wasn't even tied to digitalization. Their response was that "it's Kodak so people will pay more." Even then it was clear that developing was changing and Kodak was not being visionary about that. Unsurprisingly Kodak stores closed through out Australia. If they weren't listening to their managers on the ground it's not surprising that they'd be caught with their pants down.

Ten years latter, I have a great lil' old Kodak 5 megapixel 2005 camera which is fantastic for hiking but which I had to buy after returning a newer model. I had to down grade because the newer models were crap. If you have few digital cameras they have to be solid. How do you go from solid to crap? Someone there wasn't paying attention. Same as with the Australian stores. My little camera came with a dock for a Kodak printer, which no one bought.

I see Kodak pass with a bit with nostalgia, mostly because I was trained as a Film Camera guy and liked the feel of film and spent many a day changing and packaging rolls of film for movies, music videos and the like. But at the same time, when I was looking into buying a Kodak printer a few years ago, I asked about a Linux Driver (HP printers have Linux drivers btw) and the response I got was so nasty that I went ahead and bought a Canon printer. Kodak's demise is of their own making.

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