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?
Kodak is burning through $70 million every month and desperately trying to stay alive by selling off divisions that other companies are willing to buy. After selling off its sensor business last month, the company announced yesterday that it has agreed to sell off its gelatin business (called) Eastman Gelatine) to Rousselot, the world’s leader gelatin producer. Gelatin is one of the main components used in photographic film and paper, so this certainly can’t be good news for Kodak’s future in film photography. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Olympus’ stock price has been recovering quite nicely after an internal probe found no evidence of yakuza involvement (though they did slam upper management as “rotten”). However, rumors of possible takeover attempts persist. An article published by Bloomberg today reported that Fujifilm may be in the hunt for the beleaguered company:
Fujifilm, which makes equipment for medical scans, has been reported as a possible bidder for Japanese camera maker Olympus Corp. Yamamoto, who also is a board member at Fujifilm, declined to comment on a possible buyout of Olympus today.
Fujifilm Chief Executive Officer Shigetaka Komori said last month it was too early to discuss Olympus issues while the third-party panel was still probing the fraud at the camera maker.
Fujifilm has received a lot of praise lately for its sleek X series cameras, and could take another big step towards becoming a digital camera juggernaut if it somehow landed Olympus.