Posts Tagged ‘Kodak’

Kodak to Join the Micro Four Thirds Party with the S1 Mirrorless Camera

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Kodak had quite the surprise for the camera world today: the company announced that it will be soon joining the Micro Four Thirds standard with a new mirrorless camera called the S1. We had reported earlier this week that the company would soon launch a mirrorless camera (just like Polaroid did recently), but it seems most people didn’t expect that the news would have anything to do with the Micro Four Thirds standard.
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Kodak Will Reportedly Soon Join Polaroid in the Mirrorless Camera Market

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A week ago, we reported that Kodak had entered into a multi-year agreement with American camera supplier JK Imaging for new lines of Kodak-branded digital cameras. While it’s not uncommon to see this type of deal for low-end cameras, what’s interesting is that the agreement will also result in a Kodak-branded compact system camera. Amateur Photographer writes,

In an interview with Amateur Photographer (AP) at CES on 10 January, Eastman Kodak general manager for Film Capture, Paper and Output Systems, Dennis Olbrich, was asked whether the line-up will include a compact system camera.

Olbrich, who used to work inside Kodak’s camera division, replied: ‘That’s part of the portfolio.’

Polaroid, another beleaguered photo brand, recently signed its own agreement with Sakar International for new Polaroid-branded cameras. That duo is also working on a mirrorless camera system.

Kodak-branded Compact System Camera on Way [Amateur Photographer via Photo Rumors]

A Blast from the Past: Paul Simon’s Hit Song “Kodachrome”

After sharing that short feature yesterday on the last roll of Kodachrome, it seems appropriate to share this once-super-popular song written about the same film.

Simply titled, “Kodachrome,” it was written by American musician Paul Simon after the first breakup of Simon & Garfunkel.
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The End of an Era: Steve McCurry and the Final Roll of Kodachrome Film

In 2009, when Kodak announced that production of Kodachrome film would be coming to an end, legendary photographer Steve McCurry saw an opportunity, and asked if the company would give him the final roll. Given his reputation and the many famed photographs he’s taken on Kodachrome, it’s no surprise Kodak said yes.

As a tribute to this final roll, a crew from National Geographic decided to follow McCurry and document the momentous last 36 frames that would ever be shot on that film — the video above is the result. Read more…

Kodak Licensing Agreement Means We Haven’t Seen the Last of Kodak Cameras

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We’ve known for a while that Kodak is jumping out of the digital camera game, focusing its attention on printing and, thus, ending an era. But, as it turns out, we haven’t seen the last of the Kodak digital camera — it just won’t be made by Kodak anymore. Read more…

Kodak Patents Acquired by Group That Includes Apple, Google, and Facebook

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One chapter in the saga of Kodak’s escape from bankruptcy has come to an end. The company announced today that it has completed the sale of its valuable imaging patents for $525 million to a group of Silicon Valley companies. The deal involves more than 1,100 patents related to the capturing, manipulating, and sharing of digital photographs.
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Rivals Apple and Google Team Up in Bid for Kodak’s Valuable Imaging Patents

Yesterday we shared some news courtesy of the Wall Street Journal that Kodak had received a generous bid for its patent patent portfolio of over $500M. This was good news for Kodak, seeing as $500M was the mark the company had to hit in order to receive $830M in exit financing that would play a crucial role in helping Kodak dig its way out of bankruptcy.

However, all we knew at the time was that the bid was being put forth by a “consortium of bidders” out of Silicon Valley. Well, as it turns out, that consortium is being led by none other than the unlikely team of Apple and Google.
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Kodak Patent Bids Exceed $500M: Slow Climb Out of Bankruptcy Continues

Over the last year, no news has been good news for Eastman Kodak. The company’s slow and painful climb out of bankruptcy has involved everything from corporate greed to lost patent wars and sub-par auction outcomes. But just a few weeks ago a flickering light emerged at the end of the tunnel for Kodak in the form of $793M in conditional financing.

In fact, since we last reported on the story, the loan amount has gotten even bigger. That sizable $793M has been upped to $830M, every dime of which Kodak desperately needs to get its hands on if it ever intends to escape bankruptcy. But as the saying goes: there’s no such thing as a free lunch — and definitely not one worth $830M. The banks that have agreed to help Kodak out made the financing conditional: Kodak doesn’t get the money unless the company’s long-awaited patent sale exceeds $500M. Read more…

Razor-Blade Model: Polaroid and Kodak Never Existed to Sell Cameras

Christopher Bonanos, author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid, has authored a lengthy piece for the Washington Post on what Kodak — and whoever buys its film lines — can learn from the fall of Polaroid. The article offers some interesting facts about, and insights into, the film photography industry:

Yes, Polaroid and Kodak made hundreds of millions of cameras. But that was never their principal business: The hardware existed mostly to sell film. This is what business-school professors call the razor-blade model, pioneered by Gillette: The razor is sold at minimal profit or even given away, and the blades sell for years afterward at a healthy profit margin. Amazon does the same with the Kindle, selling it cheaply to encourage enthusiastic e-book buying.

More than anything else, Polaroid’s desire in the 1990s to keep film sales up and film factories humming was what killed the company. When it should’ve been diving into a variety of digital businesses, Polaroid doubled down on analog-film production, building new production equipment and trying to economize.

The business model Bonanos describes is also known as freebie marketing.

What Kodak could still learn from Polaroid [The Washington Post]


Image credit: razor blade by scottfeldstein

Kodak CEO Antonio Perez “Prioritizes His Compensation Even Amid Bankruptcy”

Respected stock market analysis website Seeking Alpha doesn’t think too highly of the way Kodak CEO Antonio M. Perez is leading the beleaguered photo company:

It would not be the first time that Mr. Perez, who became CEO of Kodak in 2005, has attempted to receive a large payment for his services to the detriment of his company. We had concerns about Kodak’s compensation policies in May 2010, when we noted practices such as Mr. Perez’s having amended (for the fourth time) his initial employment agreement and received an ad hoc award of 500,000 stock options at a low exercise price of $4.54 in October 2009 for “retention purposes.” Although Mr. Perez’s compensation decreased by around 55% year over year to $5.7 million in 2010, it remained grossly disproportionate compared to those of his subordinates, given that the median pay for Kodak’s other named executive officers was only $1.1 million. This suggests that Mr. Perez’s board – which he also chairs – allowed him so much freedom that he was able to prioritize his own interest ahead of his staff, customers and investors.

Earlier this month, Kodak was given permission to stop providing health and welfare benefits to tens of thousands of retirees. The move came just months after the company asked for permission to hand out $13.5 million in bonuses to 300 executives and employees.

Kodak’s CEO Prioritizes His Compensation Even Amid Bankruptcy [Seeking Alpha]