BBC: Kodak files for bankruptcy protection
Eastman Kodak, the company that invented the hand-held camera, has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Sad day. How are the mighty fallen, and all that. I know Kodak is a major multinational company, but I have a very soft spot for it. Never forget that it was Kodak who brought photography to the masses: You press the button, we do the rest—the company's motto said it all.
I have an awful lot of treasured memories saved for posterity, thanks to Kodak. I'm sure you do to. Their Kodachrome slide film, which was discontinued in 2009, was promoted as much for its archival quality as for its image quality. It wasn't hype: when I look through my old slides, decades after I took them, the Kodachrome shots, which form the vast majority, are as good as the day I got them back through the post (yes, kids, we used to have to send our photos away to be ‘developed’); many of my slides taken on rival brands' film are now faded, or have distorted colours. Kodak knew what they were doing, when it came to film.
But, apart from registering a few important patents, Kodak totally blew it when it came to digital: they didn't see the rampaging elephant approaching over the hill until it was too late. I hate it when business people use Darwinian analogies, but, in this case, it seems unavoidable: Kodak failed to adapt to a changing ecosystem, and died.
For nostalgia's sake, I hope the Kodak brand somehow lives on—albeit in greatly diminished form.