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Kodak Eastman files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

I see that Eastman Kodak has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it attempts to transform the 130-year-old photography pioneer into a digital company.

The company, which invented the hand-held camera, said in statement that it had also obtained a $950m, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup to give it the cash to keep going. Antonio Perez, the chairman and chief executive, said: “Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation.”

This is now the free market should work. It should punish companies that fail to keep ahead of the curve, it should force innovation or failure. It’s always sad to see an iconic business melt down, of course,  but “red in tooth and claw” applies here.

But just think how different the State sector behaves. It rarely transforms itself, innovation is unusual, inertia is the preferred state for the State. There is little if any motive for the State to continually challenge how it operates, to drive for efficiency, to transform. Business will always try to do things better with less resource. The State tries to do the same, or less, with more resource, that’s why it’s numbers tend to grow all the time. Business that provides poor service and inferior products gets punished. The State can do both and still reward itself because it is insulated from economic reality by virtue of lack of responsibility and a limited ability for those at the receiving end to to hold it to account. This is one reason why shrinking the State is a sign of a healthy Nation. You don’t see many of those about except in old pictures….

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9 thoughts on “PICTURE THIS?

  1. I used to fly up to Rochester NY every two months to meet with Eastman Kodak.

    Even before digital photography came about, they had plenty of competition that was squeezing their margins.

    Then they invented digital photography ( oh yes they did ) but it was all the others who made money on it.

    I feel bad about this. Their wounds were self inflicted, or else they weren’t good enough, and maybe bad luck played a part in it. It’s a kick in the head to Rochester, which is a nice middle America type big town.

    But yes, that is how markets work.

    Rochester will survive – the decline of Kodak was a very long one, and people reacted accordingly. For lots of the young best and brightest, their adaptation has been via one way plane tickets to NYC or North Carolina or other places across the country.

  2. Phantom –

    A Kodak employee invented digital photography. It was a significant and important firm for more than a century, at the technological edge. It was invulnerable in film, but it thought there was no future in digital, so customers decided there was no future for Kodak and film.

    This is how markets work, they’re a process of discovery. This works until something works better.

  3. Too bad, they were a great company and did a lot for Rochester.

    They might even come out of Chapter 11, but they haven’t been “Kodak” for a while anyway.

  4. Yes, but even back way 15 years ago, I think that Fuji Film and Agfa and others were squeezing the margins pretty good.

    This will be a really sad time in Rochester NY. They’ve seen this coming for a decade, or longer, but it is still sad.

    This is like when Pan Am went bust. Turn the page as you must.

  5. A frequent visitor to our Florida place was the Chief Fire and Safety Officer for the Kodak factory in Rochester. A memorable fella in that he was also a real life, genuine Indian Chief of one of the several active tribes in that neck of the woods.

    Even some six or so years back they were aware of pending doom, but somehow could never find the answer, probably just a little too late in joining the race. Hardly surprising considering how quickly digital technology has advanced in the last decade.

    Nevertheless, it is sad to such such an august name bite the dust, – and not a hint of scandal anywhere…

  6. Sorry, but this is bollocks.

    Chapter 11 is a scam to enable dis-engagement & facilitate non accountability in relation to financial liability.

    And the same financial institutions that enabled companies like Kodak to limp on beyond their shelf life are there to offer a temporary lifeline of funding (on draconian terms)

    Crony capitalism, doncha love it ?

  7. Chapter 11 is a legitimate tool. It does not require that the firm be liquidated. Every vendor who sold stuff to them knew the rules.

    Someone, play Paul Simon’s ” Kodachrome “

  8. The end of some companies is almost like a death in the family.
    The first camera in our house when I was a kid was a Kodak, which my father went out and bought one Saturday to take photos of the Easter Parade. I remember even the smell of it.

    “Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day”

  9. Will I still be able to get black & white 120 roll film for my Kodak Hawkeye Brownie box camera?

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