Kodak analysed, as bankrupcty progresses


posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:27 PM EST

Kodak's logo. Click here to visit the Kodak website!Whenever an icon falls on hard times, a measure of reflection is to be expected. Eastman Kodak's recent bankruptcy filing is no exception.

Over the last few weeks, the mainstream media has published a number of articles looking at Kodak's history in detail, and as the company works through its bankruptcy--most recently by extricating itself from a number of sponsorship deals, and seeking permission to reduce retiree benefits--we'd expect to see more articles in this vein. A couple of the most informative to date come from the Wall Street Journal and Der Spiegel.

Wall Street Journal blog 'The Source' offers up 'The Demise of Kodak: Five Reasons'.  Dr. Kamal Munir of the Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, provides some insight into the reasons behind Kodak's failure, and the lessons to be learned. In essence, suggests Dr. Munir, Kodak failed to embrace change, and spent far too long trying to fit digital into its existing vision for photography. 

Germany's Spiegel Online International, meanwhile, has translated an article that first appeared in the German-language print magazine at the end of January. In 'How Kodak Succumbed to the Digital Age', journalist Ullrich Fichtner looks at the bigger picture--not just for Kodak itself, but for its employees, and the residents of its home in Rochester, New York. (Those of you following News Editor Mike Tomkins on Twitter will have seen this article a few days ago.) It's well worth a read, with an insider's view from retired Kodak research engineer Robert Shanebrook.

One nugget from the latter article particularly caught our interest, even if not directly related to the bread and butter of our site. Fichtner notes that the Best Film Oscar-winner was shot on Kodak stock every year from 1928 to 2008, but has gone to rival Fujifilm every year since then. That dramatic reversal of fortunes rather mirrors the bigger picture for Kodak. It will be interesting to see whether the company can turn itself around, when it eventually emerges from bankruptcy protection.