Number of employees
1.798 billion USD (2015)
Digital imaging Photography Mobile devices
The Eastman Dry Plate Company
Jeffrey J. Clarke (CEO) James V. Continenza (Chairman)
1888, United States of America
Rochester, New York, United States
Jeff Clarke (12 Mar 2014–)
George Eastman, Henry A. Strong
Kodak, Cinesite, Kodak (Australasia) Pty. Ltd
Kodak how george eastman revolutionized photography
Eastman Kodak Company, commonly referred to as "Kodak", is an American technology company that produces imaging products with its historic basis on photography. The company is headquartered in Rochester, New York and is incorporated in New Jersey. Kodak provides packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services for businesses around the world. Its main business segments are Print Systems, Enterprise Inkjet Systems, Micro 3D Printing and Packaging, Software and Solutions, and Consumer and Film. It is best known for photographic film products.
- Kodak how george eastman revolutionized photography
- Rivalry with Fujifilm
- Shift to digital
- New strategy
- Digital printing and enterprise
- Flexo printing
- Functional printing
- Enterprise professional services
- Digital printing solutions
- Consumer inkjet ink cartridges
- Global Technical Services
- Entertainment Imaging and Commercial Film
- Motion picture and TV production
- Technical support and on site service
- Still film cameras
- Instant cameras
- Image sensors
- Digital cameras and video cameras
- Digital picture frames
- Kodak Gallery
- Document imaging
- Photographic film and paper
- Photo kiosks
- Kodak Research Laboratories
- Archive donation
- Better Business Bureau
- Patent litigation
Kodak was founded by George Eastman and Henry A. Strong on September 4, 1888. During most of the 20th century, Kodak held a dominant position in photographic film. The company's ubiquity was such that its "Kodak moment" tagline entered the common lexicon to describe a personal event that was demanded to be recorded for posterity. Kodak began to struggle financially in the late 1990s, as a result of the decline in sales of photographic film and its slowness in transitioning to digital photography. As a part of a turnaround strategy, Kodak began to focus on digital photography and digital printing, and attempted to generate revenues through aggressive patent litigation.
In January 2012, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. In February 2012, Kodak announced that it would stop making digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames and focus on the corporate digital imaging market. In August 2012, Kodak announced its intention to sell its photographic film, commercial scanners and kiosk operations, as a measure to emerge from bankruptcy, but not its motion picture film operations. In January 2013, the Court approved financing for Kodak to emerge from bankruptcy by mid 2013. Kodak sold many of its patents for approximately $525,000,000 to a group of companies (including Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, Adobe Systems and HTC) under the names Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation. On September 3, 2013, the company emerged from bankruptcy having shed its large legacy liabilities and exited several businesses. Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging are now part of Kodak Alaris, a separate company owned by the UK-based Kodak Pension Plan. On March 12, 2014, it announced that the board of directors elected Jeffrey J. Clarke as chief executive officer and a member of its board of directors.
From the company's founding by George Eastman in 1888, Kodak followed the razor and blades strategy of selling inexpensive cameras and making large margins from consumables – film, chemicals and paper. As late as 1976, Kodak commanded 90% of film sales and 85% of camera sales in the U.S.
Rivalry with Fujifilm
Japanese competitor Fujifilm entered the U.S. market (via Fuji Photo Film U.S.A.) with lower-priced film and supplies, but Kodak did not believe that American consumers would ever desert its brand. Kodak passed on the opportunity to become the official film of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics; Fuji won these sponsorship rights, which gave it a permanent foothold in the marketplace. Fuji opened a film plant in the U.S., and its aggressive marketing and price cutting began taking market share from Kodak. Fuji went from a 10% share in the early 1990s to 17% in 1997. Fuji also made headway into the professional market with specialty transparency films such as Velvia and Provia, which competed successfully with Kodak's signature professional product, Kodachrome, but used the more economical and common E-6 processing machines which were standard in most processing labs, rather than the dedicated machines required by Kodachrome. Fuji's films soon also found a competitive edge in higher-speed negative films, with a tighter grain structure.
In May 1995, Kodak filed a petition with the US Commerce Department under section 301 of the Commerce Act arguing that its poor performance in the Japanese market was a direct result of unfair practices adopted by Fuji. The complaint was lodged by the United States with the World Trade Organization. On January 30, 1998, the WTO announced a "sweeping rejection of Kodak's complaints" about the film market in Japan. Kodak's financial results for the year ending December 1997 showed that company's revenues dropped from $15.97 billion in 1996 to $14.36 billion in 1997, a fall of more than 10%; its net earnings went from $1.29 billion to just $5 million for the same period. Kodak's market share declined from 80.1% to 74.7% in the United States, a one-year drop of five percentage points that had observers suggesting that Kodak was slow to react to changes and underestimated its rivals.
Although from the 1970s both Fuji and Kodak recognized the upcoming threat of digital photography, and although both sought diversification as a mitigation strategy, Fuji was more successful at diversification.
Shift to digital
Although Kodak developed a digital camera in 1975, the first of its kind, the product was dropped for fear it would threaten Kodak's photographic film business. In the 1990s, Kodak planned a decade-long journey to move to digital technology. CEO George M. C. Fisher reached out to Microsoft and other new consumer merchandisers. Apple's pioneering QuickTake consumer digital cameras, introduced in 1994, had the Apple label but were produced by Kodak. The DC-20 and DC-25 launched in 1996. Overall, though, there was little implementation of the new digital strategy. Kodak's core business faced no pressure from competing technologies, and as Kodak executives could not fathom a world without traditional film there was little incentive to deviate from that course. Consumers gradually switched to the digital offering from companies such as Sony. In 2001 film sales dropped, which was attributed by Kodak to the financial shocks caused by the September 11 attacks. Executives hoped that Kodak might be able to slow the shift to digital through aggressive marketing.
Under Daniel Carp, Fisher's successor as CEO, Kodak made its move in the digital camera market, with its EasyShare family of digital cameras. Kodak spent tremendous resources studying customer behavior, finding out that women in particular loved taking digital photos but were frustrated in moving them to their computers. This key unmet consumer need became a major opportunity. Once Kodak got its product development machine started, it released a wide range of products which made it easy to share photos via PCs. One of their key innovations was a printer dock, where consumers could insert their cameras into this compact device, press a button, and watch their photos roll out. By 2005, Kodak ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in digital camera sales that surged 40% to $5.7 billion.
Despite the high growth, Kodak failed to anticipate how fast digital cameras became commodities, with low profit margins, as more companies entered the market in the mid-2000s. In 2001 Kodak held the No. 2 spot in U.S. digital camera sales (behind Sony) but it lost $60 on every camera sold, while there was also a dispute between employees from its digital and film divisions. The film business, where Kodak enjoyed high profit margins, fell 18% in 2005. The combination of these two factors resulted in disappointing profits overall. Its digital cameras soon became undercut by Asian competitors that could produce their offerings more cheaply. Kodak had a 27% market-leading share in 1999, that dwindled to 15% by 2003. In 2007 Kodak was No. 4 in U.S. digital camera sales with a 9.6% share, and by 2010 it held 7% in seventh place behind Canon, Sony, Nikon and others, according to research firm IDC. Also an ever-smaller percentage of digital pictures were being taken on dedicated digital cameras, being gradually displaced in the late 2000s by cameras on cellphones, smartphones, and tablets.
Kodak then began a strategy shift: Previously Kodak had done everything in-house, but CEO Antonio Pérez shut down film factories and eliminated 27,000 jobs as it outsourced its manufacturing. Pérez invested heavily in digital technologies and new services that capitalized on its technology innovation to boost profit margins. He also spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build up a high-margin printer ink business to replace shriveling film sales. Kodak's ink strategy rejected the razor and blades business model used by the dominant market leader Hewlett-Packard in that Kodak's printers were expensive but the ink was cheaper. As of 2011, these new lines of inkjet printers were said to be on verge of turning a profit, although some analysts were skeptical as printouts had been replaced gradually by electronic copies on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Home photograph printers, high-speed commercial inkjet presses, workflow software, and packaging were viewed as the company's new core businesses, with sales from those four businesses projected to double to nearly $2 billion in revenue in 2013 and account for 25% of all sales. However, while Kodak named home printers as a core business as late as August 2012, at the end of September declining sales forced Kodak to announce an exit from the consumer inkjet market.
Kodak has also turned to litigation in order to generate revenue. In 2010, it received $838 million from patent licensing that included a settlement with LG.
In 2011, despite the turnaround progress, Kodak rapidly used up its cash reserves, stoking fears of bankruptcy; it had $957 million in cash in June 2011, down from $1.6 billion in January 2001. In 2011, Kodak reportedly explored selling off or licensing its vast portfolio of patents in order to stave off bankruptcy. By January 2012, analysts suggested that the company could enter bankruptcy followed by an auction of its patents, as it was reported to be in talks with Citigroup to provide debtor-in-possession financing. This was confirmed on January 19, 2012, when the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and obtained a $950 million, 18-month credit facility from Citigroup to enable it to continue operations. Under the terms of its bankruptcy protection, Kodak had a deadline of February 15, 2013 to produce a reorganization plan.
In April 2013, Kodak showed its first Micro Four Thirds camera, to be manufactured by JK Imaging.
On September 3, 2013, Kodak announced that it emerged from bankruptcy as a technology company focused on imaging for business. Its main business segments are Digital Printing & Enterprise and Graphics, Entertainment & Commercial Films.
On March 12, 2014, Kodak announced that Jeffrey J. Clarke had been named the new CEO.
On January 1, 2015, Kodak announced a new five business division structure; Print Systems, Enterprise Inkjet Systems, Micro 3D Printing and Packaging, Software and Solutions, and Consumer and Film.
Kodak provides packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services for businesses around the world. Its main business segments are Print Systems, Enterprise Inkjet Systems, Micro 3D Printing and Packaging, Software and Solutions, and Consumer and Film.
Digital printing and enterprise
Kodak provides high-speed, high-volume commercial inkjet, and color and black-and-white electrophotographic printing equipment and related consumables and services. It has an installed base of more than 5,000 units.
Its Prosper platform uses Stream inkjet technology, which delivers a continuous flow of ink that enables constant and consistent operation, with uniform size and accurate placement, even at very high print speeds. Applications for Prosper include publishing, commercial print, direct mail, and packaging. The business also includes the customer base of Kodak VersaMark products.
The NexPress platform is used for printing short-run, personalized print applications for purposes such as direct mail, books, marketing collateral and photo products. The Digimaster platform uses monochrome electrophotographic printing technology to create high-quality printing of statements, short-run books, corporate documentation, manuals and direct mail.
Kodak designs and manufactures products for flexography printing. Its Flexcel line of flexo printing systems allow label printers to produce their own digital plates for customized flexo printing and flexible printed packaging.
The company currently has strategic relationships with worldwide touch-panel sensor leaders, such as the partnerships with UniPixel announced on April 16, 2013 and Kingsbury Corp. launched on June 27, 2013.
Enterprise professional services
Enterprise professional services offers print and managed media services, brand protection solutions and services, and document management services to enterprise customers, including government, pharmaceuticals, and health, consumer and luxury good products, retail and finance.
Digital printing solutions
In 1997, Heidelberg Printing Machines AG and Eastman Kodak Co. had created the Nexpress Solutions LLC joint venture to develop a digital color printing press for the high-end market segment. Heidelberg acquired Eastman Kodak Co.'s Office Imaging black and white digital printing activities in 1999. In 2000, they had launched Digimaster 9110 - Black & White Production Printer and NexPress 2100 Digital Color Press.
In March 2004, Heidelberg transferred its Digital Print division to Eastman Kodak Co. under mutual agreement. Kodak continues to research and develop Digital Printing Systems and introduced more products.
At present, Kodak has commercial Web-fed presses, commercial imprinting systems - Prosper, VersaMark and commercial sheet-fed press - NexPress digital production color press, DIGIMASTER HD digital black and white production printer.
Consumer inkjet ink cartridges
Kodak entered into consumer inkjet photo printers in a joint venture with manufacturer Lexmark in 1999 with the Kodak Personal Picture Maker.
In February 2007, Kodak re-entered the market with a new product line of All-In-One (AiO) inkjet printers that employ several technologies marketed as Kodacolor Technology. Advertising emphasizes low price for ink cartridges rather than for the printers themselves.
Kodak announced plans to stop selling inkjet printers in 2013 as it focuses on commercial printing, but will still sell ink.
Kodak's graphics business consists of computer to plate (CTP) devices, which Kodak first launched in 1995 when the company introduced the first thermal CTP to market. In CTP, an output device exposes a digital image using SQUAREspot laser imaging technology directly to an aluminum surface (printing plate), which is then mounted onto a printing press to reproduce the image. Kodak's Graphics portfolio includes front-end controllers, production workflow software, CTP output devices, and digital plates.
Global Technical Services
Kodak’s Global Technical Services ("GTS") for Commercial Imaging is focused on selling service contracts for Kodak products, including the following service categories: field services, customer support services, educational services, and professional services.
Entertainment Imaging and Commercial Film
Kodak's Entertainment Imaging and Commercial Film group ("E&CF") encompasses its motion picture film business, providing motion imaging products (camera negative, intermediate, print and archival film), services and technology for the professional motion picture and exhibition industries.
E&CF also offers Aerial and Industrial Films including KODAK Printed Circuit Board film, and delivers external sales for the company’s component businesses: Polyester Film, Specialty Chemicals, Inks and Dispersions and Solvent Recovery.
Motion picture and TV production
The Kodak company played a role in the invention and development of the motion picture industry. Many cinema and TV productions are shot on Kodak film stocks.
The company helped set the standard of 35mm film, and introduced the 16mm film format for home movie use and lower budget film productions.
The home market-oriented 8mm and Super 8 formats were also developed by Kodak. Kodak also entered the professional television production video tape market, briefly in the mid-1980s, under the product portfolio name of Eastman Professional Video Tape Products. In 1990, Kodak launched a Worldwide Student Program working with university faculty throughout the world to help nurture the future generation of film-makers. Kodak formed Educational Advisory Councils in the US, Europe and Asia made up of deans and chairs of some of the most prestigious film schools throughout the world to help guide the development of their program.
Kodak previously owned the visual effects film post-production facilities Cinesite in Los Angeles and London and also LaserPacific in Los Angeles. Kodak sold Cinesite to Endless LLP, an independent British private equity house.
Kodak previously sold LaserPacific and its subsidiaries Laser-Edit, Inc, and Pacific Video, Inc., in April 2010 for an undisclosed sum to TeleCorps Holdings, Inc.
Kodak also sold Pro-Tek Media Preservation Services, a film storage company in Burbank, California, in October 2013.
Technical support and on-site service
Aside from technical phone support for its products, Kodak offers onsite service for other devices such as document scanners, data storage systems (optical, tape, and disk), printers, inkjet printing presses, microfilm/microfiche equipment, photograph kiosks, and photocopiers, for which it despatches technicians who make repairs in the field.
Kodak markets Picture CDs and other photo products such as calendars, photo books and photo enlargements through retail partners such as CVS, Walmart and Target and through its Kodak Gallery online service, formerly known as Ofoto.
Still film cameras
On January 13, 2004, Kodak announced it would stop marketing traditional still film cameras (excluding disposable cameras) in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, but would continue to sell film cameras in India, Latin America, Eastern Europe and China. By the end of 2005, Kodak ceased manufacturing cameras that used the Advanced Photo System. Kodak licensed the manufacture of Kodak branded cameras to Vivitar in 2005 and 2006. After 2007 Kodak did not license the manufacture of any film camera with the Kodak name.
After losing a patent battle with Polaroid Corporation, Kodak left the instant camera business on January 9, 1986. The Kodak instant camera included models known as the Kodamatic and the Colorburst.
Polaroid was awarded damages in the patent trial in the amount of $909,457,567, a record at the time. (Polaroid Corp. v. Eastman Kodak Co., U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts, decided October 12, 1990, case no. 76-1634-MA. Published in the U.S. Patent Quarterly as 16 USPQ2d 1481). See also the following cases: Polaroid Corp. v. Eastman Kodak Co., 641 F.Supp. 828 [228 USPQ 305] (D. Mass. 1985), stay denied, 833 F.2d 930 [5 USPQ2d 1080] (Fed. Cir.), aff'd, 789 F.2d 1556 [229 USPQ 561] (Fed. Cir.), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 850 (1986).
Kodak was the exclusive supplier of negatives for Polaroid cameras from 1963 until 1969, when Polaroid chose to manufacture its own instant film.
As part of its move toward higher end products, Kodak announced on September 15, 2006 that the new Leica M8 camera incorporates Kodak's KAF-10500 image sensor. This was the second recent partnership between Kodak and the German optical manufacturer. In 2011, Kodak sold its Image Sensor Solutions business to Platinum Equity, which subsequently renamed it Truesense Imaging, Inc.
Digital cameras and video cameras
Many of Kodak's early compact digital cameras were designed and built by Chinon Industries, a Japanese camera manufacturer. In 2004, Kodak Japan acquired Chinon and many of its engineers and designers joined Kodak Japan.
The Kodak DCS series of digital single-lens reflex cameras and digital camera backs were released by Kodak in the 1990s and 2000s, and discontinued in 2005. They were based on existing 35mm film SLRs from Nikon and Canon and the range included the original Kodak DCS, the first commercially available digital SLR.
In July 2006, Kodak announced that Flextronics would manufacture and help design its digital cameras.
Digital picture frames
Kodak first entered the digital picture frame market with the Kodak Smart Picture Frame in the fourth quarter of 2000. It was designed by Weave Innovations and licensed to Kodak with an exclusive relationship with Weave's StoryBox online photo network. Smart Frame owners connected to the network via an analog telephone connection built into the frame. The frame could hold 36 images internally and came with a six-month free subscription to the StoryBox network.
Kodak re-entered the digital photo frame market at CES in 2007 with the introduction of four new EasyShare-branded models that were available in sizes from 200 to 280 mm (7.9 to 11.0 in), included multiple memory card slots, and some of which included Wi-Fi capability to connect with the Kodak Gallery—that gallery functionality has now been compromised due to gallery policy changes (see below).
In June 2001, Kodak purchased the photo-developing website Ofoto, later renamed Kodak Gallery. The website enables users to upload their photos into albums, publish them into prints, and create mousepads, calendars, etc. On March 1, 2012, Kodak announced that it sold Kodak Gallery to Shutterfly for $23.8 million.
Kodak provides scanning technology. Historically this industry began when George Eastman partnered with banks to image checks in the 1920s. Through the development of microfilm technology, Eastman Kodak was able to provide long term document storage. Document imaging was one of the first imaging solutions to move to "digital imaging" technology. Kodak manufactured the first digital document scanners for high speed document imaging. Today Kodak has a full line of document scanners for banking, finance, insurance, healthcare and other vertical industries. Kodak also provides associated document capture software and business process services. Eastman Kodak acquired the Bowe Bell & Howell scanner division in September 2009.
Photographic film and paper
Kodak continues to produce specialty films and film for newer and more popular consumer formats, but it has discontinued the manufacture of film in older and less popular formats.
Kodak is a leading producer of silver halide (AgX) paper used for printing from film and digital images. Minilabs located in retail stores and larger central photo lab operations (CLOs) use silver halide paper for photo printing. In 2005 Kodak announced it would stop producing black-and-white photo paper.
Kodak is a manufacturer of self-service photo kiosks that produce "prints in seconds" from multiple sources including digital input, scanned prints, Facebook, the Kodak Gallery and orders placed on-line using thermosublimation printers. The company has placed over 100,000 Picture Kiosks in retail locations worldwide. Employing similar technology, Kodak also offers larger printing systems with additional capabilities including duplex greeting cards, large format poster printers, photobooks and calendars under the brand name "APEX".
The letter k was a favorite of Eastman's; he is quoted as saying, "it seems a strong, incisive sort of letter."
He and his mother devised the name Kodak with an anagrams set. Eastman said that there were three principal concepts he used in creating the name: it should be short, easy to pronounce, and not resemble any other name or be associated with anything else.
Kodak Research Laboratories
The Kodak Research Laboratories were founded in 1912 with Kenneth Mees as the first director. Principal components of the Kodak Research Laboratories were the Photographic Research Laboratories and then the Imaging Research Laboratories. Additional organizations included the Corporate Research Laboratories. Over nearly a century, scientists at these laboratories produced thousands of patents and scientific publications.
In 2005, Kodak Canada donated its entire historic company archives to Ryerson University in Toronto. The Ryerson University Library also acquired an extensive collection of materials on the history of photography from the private collection of Nicholas M. & Marilyn A. Graver of Rochester, New York. The Kodak Archives, begun in 1909, contain the company's Camera Collection, historic photos, files, trade circulars, Kodak magazines, price lists, daily record books, equipment, and other ephemera. It includes the contents of the Kodak Heritage Collection Museum, a museum established in 1999 for Kodak Canada's centennial that Kodak closed in 2005 along with the company's entire 'Kodak Heights' manufacturing campus in Mount Dennis, Toronto. See also: George Eastman House.
Better Business Bureau
On March 26, 2007, the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) announced that Eastman Kodak was resigning its national membership in the wake of expulsion proceedings initiated by the CBBB board of directors. In 2006, Kodak notified the BBB of Upstate New York that it would no longer accept or respond to consumer complaints submitted by them. In prior years, Kodak responded by offering consumers an adjustment or an explanation of the company’s position. The BBB file contains consumer complaints of problems with repairs of Kodak digital cameras, as well as difficulty communicating with Kodak customer service. Among other complaints, consumers say that their cameras broke and they were charged for repairs when the failure was not the result of any damage or abuse. Some say their cameras failed again after being repaired.
Kodak said its customer service and customer privacy teams concluded that 99% of all complaints forwarded by the BBB already were handled directly with the customer. Brian O’Connor, Kodak chief privacy officer, said the company was surprised by the news release distributed by the Better Business Bureau:
It is inaccurate in the facts presented as well as those the BBB chose to omit. Ironically, we ultimately decided to resign our membership because we were extremely unhappy with the customer service we received from the local office of the BBB. After years of unproductive discussions with the local office regarding their Web site postings about Kodak, which in our view were consistently inaccurate, we came to the conclusion that their process added no value to our own. Our commitment to our customers is unwavering. That will not change. What has changed is that, for us, the BBB's customer complaint process has become redundant, given the multiple and immediate ways that customers have to address their concerns directly with Kodak.
In 2010, Apple filed a patent-infringement claim against Kodak. On May 12, 2011, Judge Robert Rogers rejected Apple's claims that two of its digital photography patents were being violated by Kodak.
On July 1, 2011, the U.S. International Trade Commission partially reversed a January decision by an administrative law judge stating that neither Apple nor Research in Motion had infringed upon Kodak's patents. The ITC remanded the matter for further proceedings before the ALJ.