Friday, February 10, 2012

You press the button, we do the rest

This week, Eastman Kodak announced that it was to phase out its digital camera, pocket video camera, and digital picture frame businesses in the first half of this year.

Founded by George Eastman in 1889, the company made its name selling inexpensive film cameras and making large margins from the film, chemicals, and paper that were required to capture and develop the images that they took.

Now, by getting out of the digital camera business that replaced its old film cameras, the company expects to achieve operating savings of more than $100 million a year.

It's a sad state of affairs but hardly unexpected. The move comes hot on the heels of last month's announcement that the company had filed for filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 business reorganization in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

But perhaps it doesn't quite mean the end of the Kodak brand, because the company is seeking to expand its current brand licensing program by looking for interested parties to license the products instead.

It's better news, thank goodness, at the company's former Image Sensor Solutions (ISS) division business. Now called Truesense Imaging -- after being acquired from Eastman Kodak by Platinum Equity through a transaction with Kodak that closed on Nov. 7, 2011 -- it would appear that the only thing to have changed at the company is its name.

Truesense Imaging, still with its headquarters in Rochester, NY, has kept Kodak's research and development, marketing, and business operations intact, including its highly specialized image-sensor manufacturing operation.

The name change, which was also only announced this week, is so recent that when our European correspondent met up with Truesense Imaging's Michael DeLuca at the AIA Business Conference just a few weeks ago in Orlando, Florida, he was still carrying a Kodak business card, which was -- naturally enough -- printed on Kodak paper.

Perhaps he should hang onto it. It might be worth some money as an antique in the future.

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