Kodak vs. Fujifilm: A Tale of Two Film Makers

The Economist has a fascinating piece looking at the similarities and differences between Kodak and Fujifilm, two juggernauts of film photography that took different paths when digital photography came around:

While Kodak suffers, its long-time rival Fujifilm is doing rather well. The two firms have much in common. Both enjoyed lucrative near-monopolies of their home markets: Kodak selling film in America, Fujifilm in Japan. A good deal of the trade friction during the 1990s between America and Japan sprang from Kodak’s desire to keep cheap Japanese film off its patch.

Both firms saw their traditional business rendered obsolete. But whereas Kodak has so far failed to adapt adequately, Fujifilm has transformed itself into a solidly profitable business, with a market capitalisation, even after a rough year, of some $12.6 billion to Kodak’s $220m. Why did these two firms fare so differently?

Last Friday, Kodak filed a lawsuit against Fujifilm alleging that the company had infringed on Kodak’s digital photography patents.

The last Kodak moment? [The Economist]

Image credit: Ammo for 合歡&清境 by 今 ゆっくりと 歩いていこう

  • Anonymous

    i think it described the business environment of the 2 countries perfectly.
    Japan: Evolve, stay unique and keep up with your demographic
    US: Never change, bleed it dry and sell to a VC

  • Iam12whatsthat

    actually the article said massive restructuring was atypical for japanese businesses as well.

  • Travis

    Smells like desperation.

    While we’re at it I’m going to sue Apple because I thought of a white audio playback device too.

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  • Lolilol

    Kodak suing Fuji is speaks volumes about the incompetent management that’s still at the top of Kodak. Kodak CEO’s really are the curse of this company. They are killing it.

  • Darfut

    Consumer loyalty means everything in a market. Japanese are totally loyal to products made in Japan, while Americans will buy anything from anywhere if they can save 50 cents.