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Sell patents, bit a massive loan, or close up shop?

Poor Kodak has taken a beating since the advent of digital photography. Few consumers buy film anymore and Kodak’s line of digital cameras aren’t even close to setting sales records. Kodak is facing a bleak future and has previously stated that it might be forced to close up shop as early as this year if things don't change.
 
Kodak is also facing growing personnel losses within the company. The firm has announced the loss of a third member from its board of directors in the last week. The latest loss is Laura Tyson who resigned her position on the board of Kodak Thursday. The resignation was confirmed in a SEC filing that Kodak made on Friday.
 
Tyson is a professor at the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Tyson is also a member of President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board and advised President Clinton when he was in office.
 
Kodak is in such dire financial straits that the firm is looking at possibly selling off patents it holds to stay solvent. It has been estimated that the patents Kodak holds are worth five times the company's current market cap.
 
The other two directors that left Kodak last week include Adam Clammer and Herald Chen. The two directors were both from a private equity firm called KKR & Co and had been on the board since 2009. 
 
Reuters reports that Kodak had also warned that it might have to raise $500 million in new debt in lieu of selling patents to stay solvent. Kodak hasn't turned an annual profit since 1997.

Source: Reuters



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WiFi or 3G
By drycrust3 on 1/2/2012 2:26:25 PM , Rating: -1
Looking at The Most Popular Cameras in the Flickr Community (http://www.flickr.com/cameras/) the most popular camera isn't a Nikon, nor a Canon, but the iPhone 4!
If we look at the trends, the price of broadband internet and 3G capability is dropping, while the ways a cellphone is being used increases. The big problem with a digital camera is you need a computer to get your pictures onto Flickr and your video onto Youtube.
As such, it is pretty obvious that the type of market Koday aims at, young people, will, somewhere down the road want a serious camera with WiFi and 3G phone capabilities.
If Kodak could tack a mobile phone into a camera without any serious difficulty, then maybe they could be one ahead of the competition. In line with Kodak's core principles of providing simplicity that works, the phone capability wouldn't need to have lots of apps in a application library, it would just need to be reliable and to bring the normal phone things, texting and phone calls, to the camera.
I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find some mobile phone producer who is loosing market share to Android and Apple who may be interested in a partnership.




RE: WiFi or 3G
By EricMartello on 1/2/2012 5:19:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The big problem with a digital camera is you need a computer to get your pictures onto Flickr and your video onto Youtube.


You are right about saying that Kodak should have been going for the cellphone camera market, but you're missing the point and misinterpreting what you see there on Flickr.

The iphone is not a popular camera; it's a popular communications device that has the ability to take pictures. In other words, if it ONLY took pictures and was just as easy to use, it would not have gained its popularity. If the samsung galaxy became the most popular phone, it would probably start replacing the iphone as the "most popular camera" based on that flickr graph.

Since smartphones can take pictures and are REQUIRED to have a data plan, people are more likely to upload the pics they take. The iphone is the most popular smartphone for now, so that's why it's topping the graph.

Cameras with integrated wifi have been tried before - they never caught on. I believe there still are some cameras on the market that do offer WiFi...but a camera with 3G would be a bad idea. Who is going to want to pay a monthly fee for a camera alone? Very few people would.

The reason is simple. If you are using a camera, you care about quality. If you just want to take snapshots then something like an iphone is good enough...but if you're actually interested in getting creative photographic results you are going to need to get into DSLR type cameras...and most people who make that decision don't care about 'consumer' features like the "wifi button" or "email to grandma" feature.

Kodak's best play would have been to develop/purchase lens & sensor tech, then license said tech and branding to cellphone makers...similar to the way Zeiss licensed their brand to Logitech for some of their webcams.


RE: WiFi or 3G
By DoctorBeer on 1/2/2012 5:20:58 PM , Rating: 1
Iphone != DSLR

Nice troll attempt though. Gave me a giggle.


RE: WiFi or 3G
By rawlic on 1/3/2012 1:06:38 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, you're missing the point. What he was saying is that most people on Flickr are posting photos taken on their Iphones, and that if Kodak could tack a phone onto their existing cameras they might be okay. That probably won't work (see GarminPhone), but previous comments about branding cameras for phones are a possibility that while not easy, is definitely cheap for Kodak. Make a package of a decent lens+sensor+LED Flash and offer it to phone OEMs. Not a ton of development cost, and it puts the Kodak name back out there a bit.

Considering the current state of cell phone camera quality, if they actually make something cheap enough for OEMs to consider and quality enough that there's a visible quality difference it could bring the Kodak name back into discussion. Pack it with a touch interface photo touchup (red eye reduction, some quick photo effects like paper camera or photo effects pro) and suddenly manufacturers can say "but does it have a Kodak camera?" because there will be perceived value in the package.

And as far as troll posts, where did DSLRs come into this? As far as DSLRs go, if you aren't Canon or Nikon there's not much space to say anything. If the discussion is about methods for Kodak to stay afloat, do you think dropping the kind of money to re-enter that market segment is worth it? R&D costs are going to be astronomical for that.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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