My mind is a strange and dangerous place. I shouldn’t go in there alone after dark. But the other night I was thinking, just me and myself, about all the new camera releases this year. Which had made the biggest impact? Was it the Canon 5D III with that world-class autofocus system? The Olympus OM-D bringing mirrorless cameras up a notch in image quality and usability? Should I mention the excellent Samsung NX20, just because no one knows it’s really good? Give the Fuji X-Pro an award for best concept most poorly carried out? Consider the Sony NEX-7 for putting full-frame resolution on an APS-C sensor? Read more…
Shutterfly this year is expected to post $582 million in revenue, up a gaudy 137% since 2009. As of the end of March Shutterfly had zero debt and $144 million in cash with another $100 million due to flow in this year. At a market cap of nearly $1 billion, Shutterfly is being told by the stock market that it is worth the same as Instagram, which being acquired by Facebook for $1 bil- lion in cash and stock. While Insta- gram has far more users (30 million), it lacks a few business essentials such as revenue, profit and scale. Instagram has about a dozen employees. Shutterfly, with 1,000 employees, produces photo books, prints and other goods in factories in Phoenix and Charlotte.
An interesting fact from the article: by 2015, Americans will take an average of 322 photos per person per year, or roughly a photo a day.
Those of you who were hoping that all of the Facebook/Instagram acquisition talk would end may not get a respite as soon as we thought. Although the original acquisition papers from Facebook stated that they would try to close the deal in Q2, a rumored Federal Trade Commission (FTC) competition probe may delay that closure by up to a year.
As of right now there’s no evidence that the probe poses any viable threat to the acquisition itself — apparently they’re quite common for deals over $66 million — but the inevitable red tape would add some serious delay to the whole matter.
Unfortunately, it looks like we may have to wait on that Instagram Snap camera.
After narrowly missing the opportunity to acquire Instagram, it seems that Twitter was eager to try again; this time with one of the most popular paid camera apps, Camera+. Apparently, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey actually met with tap tap tap — the makers of Camera+ — to discuss an acquisition shortly after news of Facebook’s Instagram acquisition broke.
This news comes just two weeks after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo told the press that they would not be trying to acquire an Instagram competitor. It’s all the same, however, because negotiations didn’t end up leading to a purchase or even an offer. The main reason for the breakdown in negotiations was apparently location: Camera+ employees are located all over the world and were reluctant to relocate to San Francisco.
They say that when it rains it pours, and nowhere is that more evident than with the troubled, once-great photography company Kodak. After filing for bankruptcy, narrowing its focus to printers, and selling the Kodak Gallery for pennys on the dollar, we sort of hoped the company would start to see some rays of sunshine break through their perpetual cloud cover. Unfortunately, their quarter’s earnings report is anything but sunny. Read more…
Facebook may have been the victor in the race to acquire Instagram, but it wasn’t the only runner. The New York Times writes that Twitter had been interested in snatching up the service in the months leading up to the $1 billion buyout.
Mr. Systrom may have lost one connection in the deal: Mr. Dorsey of Twitter. His company, according to several people briefed on the matter, had expressed interest in buying Instagram in recent months. Mr. Dorsey once used Instagram daily to send photos to Twitter, but he has not been back since the deal was announced, perhaps a sign that he is not happy to see it in the hands of a competitor. A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment.
Former Olympus CEO Michael Woodford has gotten his wish: the entire Olympus board resigned this week in the aftermath of the company’s epic financial scandal and stock tumble. They did, however, pick a new president and chairman before handing in their letters of resignation. Hiroyuki Sasa from the company’s medical equipment marketing division was picked for president, while banker Yasuyuki Kimoto has been chosen as chairman. The changes are expected to be finalized at an April 20th shareholders meeting. Sasa has promised to both win back public trust and to prevent another scandal from every occurring.
For those of you who are interested in the business and technology side of things, here’s an interesting 45-minute interview in which Digg founder Kevin Rose chats with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom:
They chat about Systrom’s growing up with computers, his time spent at Stanford, and landing an internship at a startup destined to be worth billions. This ultimately led to launching Instagram which is now 15 million users strong and one of the fastest growing social networks on the planet!
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?