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Kodak has had its last moment

February 2, 2012

PEREZ

NATALIE MCELWEE
Staff Reporter

 

Eastman Kodak Company, known for its slogan “You press the button, we do the rest,” has been a leading innovator in the world of photography since its beginning in 1880.

 

Despite being a pioneer in the industry, Kodak made the decision to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy Jan. 19.

 

A Chapter 11 proceeding focuses on the preservation and reorganization of ongoing operating companies. This decision will allow Kodak to remain in operation while renovating and reorganizing the company.

 

Primarily a film and paper business, Kodak is trying to make a move in the digital direction.

 

According to Kodak’s press release, Kodak is filing bankruptcy in order to reevaluate the company and move away from the old-fashioned techniques that are being left behind in today’s times.

 

Frank Hamrick, an assistant professor of photography, said he believes filing bankruptcy is the right decision for Kodak.

 

“If they [Kodak] want to survive, it is the right way to go,” he said. “I think if they want to still be a leader in photography or be as relevant as they were, then they’ll have to put more of a focus on their digital technology.”

 

Hamrick said he also believes Kodak could have prevented falling behind in the digital world.

 

“They came up with a digital camera in 1975 but didn’t really pursue it because they didn’t think it would be a money maker,” he said. “So, I think they really dropped the ball. They had this opportunity a long time ago to be innovative and they didn’t do it.”

 

Due to its inability to stay on top of the competition, Kodak is responsible for falling behind other top companies in the industry, Hamrick said.

 

“We did think of Kodak as being synonymous with photography,” he said. “Now, we might think of Canon or Nikon or Photoshop or Apple. It’s not the No. 1 thing anymore.”

 

Bankruptcy is not the end for Kodak, Hamrick said.

 

“It [Kodak] will be restructured,” he said. “Just because Kodak filed for bankruptcy doesn’t mean it will go away.”

 

According to Kodak’s press release, Kodak has been moving away from its traditional ways since 2003, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 120 processing labs, and laying off 47,000 employees.

 

“Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation,” said Antonio Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Kodak in a press release. “At the same time as we have created our digital business, we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations.”

 

While some businesses could get discouraged when filing bankruptcy, Kodak is looking to the future as an opportunity to renovate the company.

 

“After considering the advantages of chapter 11 at this time, the Board of Directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak,” Perez said in a press release. He also said Kodak plans for its times of renewal.

 

“Chapter 11 gives us the best opportunities to maximize the value in two critical parts of our technology portfolio: our digital capture patents and our breakthrough printing and deposition technologies,” he said.

 

Email comment to nkm003@latech.edu.

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