Watching a Giant Die

Kodak has had a long and fruitful run. Now, it’s spinning off businesses and going bankrupt and taking countless jobs with it. It didn’t have to end this way.

Kodak announced today that they would be keeping the film sector of business and selling off their digital camera, pocket camcorder, and digital picture frame sectors.

It’s about damn time.

Now that Kodak is faced with the eminent death and the reality of Chapter 11, it’s doing what it should have done years and years ago: Go all in or get out. Do what you’re really good at and leave the rest to the people who are good at digital cameras, pocket camcorders, and digital picture frames.

You see, Kodak is really good at many things: it has always made amazing film and paper, its R&D department is spectacular, and even their printing kiosks are half decent. However, they were never that good at digital cameras. They made alright entry-level cameras that served the true amateur perfectly. However, as time progressed and people became more and more sophisticated in both taste and skill, Kodak never adjusted. They never grew up as a brand and made a serious camera. Always entry level non-sense that still claimed a Carl-Zeiss lens on the box as if no one else had one (EVERYONE else had one).

Meanwhile, Nikon and Canon ate away at their market with a name brand that was always respected and a camera selection in literally every range possible. Fuji and Sony also steadily ate away at the same middle ground that Kodak once owned while name-brand blister pack cameras grew up to meet the entry-level amateur.

In other words, Kodak should have killed/sold off their camera line 5 years ago.

But, they didn’t and now they’re forced to do what they could have done so long ago and saved thousands of people their jobs and millions in losses. If they had just sat down with an open mind and honest people and evaluated their concept of reality and market, they would have saved all the loss.

Just one honest conversation could have told them to kill/sell the camera market and ramp up the professional film/paper market and go after a solid B2B approach for their other products. Now, we watch the giant fall.

Oh, and Kodak: kill the kiosks. They’re tainted now. You’re tainted now.