OT: Kodak shares dive as bankruptcy fears escalate

musicvid10 wrote on 9/30/2011, 9:18 PM
As someone who has used their products commercially and personally for longer than I care to mention (and even praised a couple of times for my work by the almighty yellow god), this was a slack-jaw moment:


ushere wrote on 9/30/2011, 9:50 PM
probably the mba's in management thought it was time to diversify in to food, beverages, or similar.

am amazed at how many companies globally seem to get their knickers in a twist as soon as they appoint outside ceo's who have no idea of the companies core business.

bet the kodak ceo has never developed a film in his life. (ok, then at least printed from a neg).

old fart [/rant]
johnmeyer wrote on 9/30/2011, 10:15 PM
I lived in Rochester (Pittsford) from 1981 to 1983. At that time, one out of every seven people worked for Kodak, and another one out of seven worked for companies that fed into the Kodak manufacturing process. Xerox was the other big employer. Xerox apparently pulled out years ago, and now it looks like Kodak will be, at the very least, gutted.

Rochester never felt exactly like a thriving city. The downtown was one of the most decrepit places I've ever been in. I worked downtown for the two years I lived there and never enjoyed walking around the center of town.

Despite the lousy downtown, the people were absolutely great, the surrounding area spectacular, and the cultural opportunities fantastic. The Rochester Philharmonic under Zinman was world-class, and my wife got to dance with ABT principals during the annual Nutcracker. I can't imagine what it will be like without Kodak, but I suppose it will be very much like a shopping mall that depends on two major retailers who then both pull out all at once.

To its credit, Kodak did try to make the digital transition. I was directly involved with them on several of these projects in the late 1990s and, as many of you no doubt remember, they actually had some pretty decent point-and-shoot digital cameras during the early digital era, just after Sony started selling its floppy-based Mavica cameras. Unfortunately, very little of their traditional expertise could be applied to the new technology: their main forte was chemicals.

First Kodachrome, and now the whole darn company. I, for one, will miss them.
JJKizak wrote on 10/1/2011, 7:01 AM
What about their big time processing equipment?
TheHappyFriar wrote on 10/1/2011, 8:22 AM
A coworkers son got laid off their two years ago. Had a nice enough severance package that he didn't NEED to work for two years. Just got a job because he took the two years to learn different programming languages. He worked in the digital part of Kodak and they saw this happening years ago, just a matter of time.
ushere wrote on 10/1/2011, 8:27 AM
interesting the failure to capitalise on their early pro dslr's. they were pretty advanced (not to say idiosyncratic) in their day.
musicvid10 wrote on 10/1/2011, 8:32 AM
A couple of years back a friend did a promotional shoot for one of my shows using his D8. I hung around the fringes with a $200 Kodak. The WB and autoexposure was better with the Kodak.
monoparadox wrote on 10/1/2011, 8:36 AM
Wouldn't you all love to have a nickel for every kodak moment that didn't "develop?"

Bye, bye Microdol-X, Dektol, and Opal G. Anyone remember her?

My start in the "visual" arts was when my grand pop sold me his darkroom setup for fifty bucks. DeJur enlarger and a host of outdated papers, chemicals, and films.

Remember that old, white "positive" film?

Kodak was a system that grew money on trees. Who would have thought digital would arrive as fast as it did. Kodak didn't.
musicvid10 wrote on 10/1/2011, 9:09 AM
The mammoth skeleton in the big K's closet was p-phenylenediamine*
It was a career ender for me in 1990 and my income has never reached half of what it was previously. And I'm listed among the lucky ones . . .

* EK did its due diligence from the 60's forward with labeling, training, and then osha starting in the seventies. Some of their competitors and second-tier commercial users did not.
winrockpost wrote on 10/1/2011, 6:55 PM
kind of like puttin all your cash in the typewriter business.... I mean come on....I thought they already were out of business.feeling for those who lose jobs... but some times you just got to scratch your head at how out of touch companies are,,,, BOA introducing a 5.00 fee for debit cards a case in point
Chienworks wrote on 10/1/2011, 8:29 PM
I've heard of Opal G but never encountered it. I've certainly gone through gallons of Microdol-X, D-76, and Dektol in my day though.

My nickname in high school was "Kodak" because i always had a camera and an old yellow Kodak paper box with me to carry around my newest prints. I just now remembered the quote i put in my senior yearbook ... http://www.almedian.com/index.cgi?p=1981-019

I'm now using my old Chromega 760XL enlarger as a copy stand and light source for digitizing all the old family slides with my Nikon DSLR. Speaking of which, i remember reading out that model in PopPhoto magazine for months before it was finally released. I had a pre-order in with B&H Photo about 3 months in advance. It paid off. My enlarger arrived with a serial number of 0000001 and the color head had a serial number 0000000. Hmmmm. I bet they'd be worth something to a serious collector now!
musicvid10 wrote on 10/1/2011, 11:06 PM
Gates Rubber was the post-WWII American giant of the auto and commercial tire industry and became a billion dollar corporation. They decided it would be too expensive to retool for radial tires in the seventies. By 1990, they were all but shut down. Today, they're still pulling asbestos and TCE out of the factory carcass in preparation for razing. This is what I drive by a couple of times each day.

American business never seems to remember the first rule of survival:
-- Adapt or Die
Anthony J C wrote on 10/2/2011, 6:42 AM
American business never seems to remember the first rule of survival:
-- Adapt or Die

Same as the UK, we had motorcycle, car manufacturing, and many manufacturing companies with great names, and pre war tooling etc. Where are they now? Just service industries and importing everything from China. Strangely, we don't hear of monthly import/export balance of payments anymore, I wonder why? But, it will all go wrong in the near future.

JJKizak wrote on 10/2/2011, 7:09 AM
The free world should have bought China while they were still cheap.
Chienworks wrote on 10/2/2011, 7:12 AM
Guy at work who follows this sort of thing closely predicts that China's economy will self-implode within 5 years and exports will grind to an inglorious halt. Great opportunity for the rest of the world, except that probably most of the rest of the world won't be ready to start producing things themselves by then.
craftech wrote on 10/2/2011, 8:13 AM
The US has become a growing center for poverty wage manufacturing. Example: Volkswagen in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Wages start at $12 an hour now. BMW in South Carolina - $15 an hour. Lowest in the world for an autoworker. Volkswagen can produce a car with cheap US labor for $7000 less than they can in Germany.

By exploiting mass levels of unemployment, legislators with the full backing of the president are systematically transforming the US into a cheap labor country that will eventually compete with Mexico and China. Siemens, for example, chose the US over China to build it's most recent plant because (in the words of a spokesperson for Siemens) "for highly skilled work, the labor cost differential wasn’t very big. For this kind of manufacturing the US can compete with China.”

The goal of the Obama administration is to double US exports by 2015. The free trade agreements they are pushing combined with existing ones will provide an increase in jobs in other countries and a net loss of jobs here in the US. For Wall Street, legislation passed 10-11 years ago has resulted in a shift from a long term profit business model to only a short term profit business model. The results have been massive bonuses for those at the top and a reduction in the work force.

Any legislative attempt and changing the policies driving the citizens into poverty are thwarted with filibusters and other forms of legislative obstruction and those thwarting it are rewarded with re-election. How is that possible? See the next paragraph.

My pet peeve (the US media) is the major contributor to the problem. Note the lack of economists they invite whenever big decisions on the economy are the main news. Instead they selectively invite politicians and Wall Street hacks on the air to help perpetuate and worsen the problem. The public is too brainwashed to catch on because they solve the problem with their remote controls. "I'll just change the channel to find the truth". With only five of the largest corporations owning virtually all the media the notion that the media is "liberal" should be met with -"Are you kidding'? But instead it is met with acceptance by the greater US population simply because it has been repeated so often that most Americans just repeat it back.

Of course, most of you will challenge that statement and I don't want to start a battle over it so let me just give you an example that will verify my point for you over and over and over again.

Every time you hear a politician claim that "Obama said that if a stimulus package s passed, unemployment wouldn't go above 8%" note that the statement will NOT be challenged by the news person that gave it a platform. It is a lie. He never said it. I'll give $1000 to anyone that can find a video or transcript of Obama saying that. Unemployment was 7.6% before Obama even proposed the stimulus. So after those of you who could use an extra $1000 give up trying to find it start paying attention to how many times it is repeated over and over and over again by both politicians (unchallenged by the media person hosting them) and the media itself. Since that lie will persist through 2012 it will serve to illustrate my point repeatedly for you.

musicvid10 wrote on 10/2/2011, 10:56 AM
John, This was a discussion about a related industry, not politics. Usually what happens in a case like this is someone flames, then the whole thread gets deleted. I know because I've caused that to happen.
craftech wrote on 10/2/2011, 7:42 PM
That's why my follow-up post was more in tune with the thread's exact subject - Kodak.

If someone flames, I'll not answer or I'll delete the long post.

Robert Johnston wrote on 10/2/2011, 8:10 PM
With all the Kodak cameras I bought this year, I am quite surprised to hear about Kodak's poor business results. First Flip, now maybe Kodak next. I remember a time in the 70's, that Kodak wasn't doing very well, but eventually they came back. They had a nice coorporate-looking building almost across the street from where I lived, but they moved out of there back then, never to return to that location.
jabloomf1230 wrote on 10/2/2011, 9:30 PM
The first recorded attempt at building a digital camera was by Steven Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak. It used the then-new solid-state CCD image sensor chips developed by Fairchild Semiconductor in 1973. The camera weighed 8 pounds (3.6 kg), recorded black and white images to a cassette tape, had a resolution of 0.01 megapixels (10,000 pixels), and took 23 seconds to capture its first image in December of 1975. The prototype camera was a technical exercise, not intended for production.

Sasson recently received an award for his contribution, The Nation Medal for Science and Technology and Innovation:


In a recent interview with Sasson, he indicated that Kodak did everything it could to downplay his work on digital cameras, as at the time, the company's executives felt that such devices would cut into their film sales. Boy were they right!

This is just another example of what's wrong with American industry. A company advances its products by acknowledging that it is a three-legged stool, with the three "legs" being the lawyers, the bean counters and the technical staff. If any one leg of the stool is too long or too short, the stool tips over. Thus it was and is with Kodak. And Rochester is a mess, not only because it pinned its fortunes on Kodak, but also on Xerox, another tech dinosaur.
Rory Cooper wrote on 10/3/2011, 2:34 AM
Or they have something new.

You know how big business works, you invent something new, crash the existing company, buy up the shares and release the new technology and makes some bucks.

time will tell.
paul_w wrote on 10/3/2011, 4:21 AM
Was at the London screening for the Zacuto camera tests with mr Bloom earlier this year. And there was a lady in the audience from Kodak. Someone in the room, cant remember who, asked her aloud if she would still have a job to go to after seeing all these digital 'near film' quality cameras. There was a slight ripple of laugher by some but at the same time, it was sad because we also knew it was probably true.
Would not like to be working for Kodak right now.

rs170a wrote on 10/6/2011, 7:05 PM
From an online blog article called A Tough Week for Film

It’s been kind of a tough week for film. Yep, film. That physical media and photo-chemical process that had been the staple of both cinema and photography until digital acquisition came along. Digital is driving film to its grave. There have of course been many telltale signs of this over the past few years but I saw some more last week.
The first came when a new issue of Creative COW magazine arrived in the mail the other day with the title Film Fading to Black. The subtitle: “Within the last year, ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have all ceased production of their film cameras to focus exclusively on the design and manufacture of digital cameras.” (I’d link to the article, but it hasn’t been posted online yet). I was surprised to read that, according to an ARRI VP, the company has only built film cameras on demand since 2009. A Panavision VP added that his company “built its last 35mm Millennium XL camera in the winter of 2009.”

When companies like the three mentioned stop making film cameras, you know the end is getting near :(

Serena wrote on 10/6/2011, 8:02 PM
Kodak business is/was about film and processing and they only made cameras (e.g. Box Bownie) for people to use film. So it isn't surprising that as film use diminished they couldn't see themselves going over to making only electronic hardware, particularly when that is a crowded business. Shareholders should have seen that coming. It would be interesting to know the proportion of film to digital in current and planned feature productions, for I don't see among DOPs much loss of enthusiasm for the silver halide stuff. There are plenty of film cameras around so it really doesn't matter if Arri or Panavision have stopped production, but it does matter if you can't get film. Fuji looks strong and is more diversified? But surely it can't now be long before digital surpasses the technical capabilities of film, even though that has been said for the last 30 years.
I'm reminded that vinyl records are regaining life - http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/music/turning-point-20110929-1kxv6.htmlvinyl[/link] - and still photographers are renewing their love of film - http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/05/kodak-photography?newsfeed=truefilm coming back[/link] and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/8525839/Traditional-camera-film-makes-a-come-back.htmlhere it comes again[/link]