Reports are emerging that Kodak is about to file for Bankruptcy and to be honest, I don’t think anyone is surprised. See the issue with Kodak is that while it’s business was pictures, it’s done nothing but fail in terms of leading the foray into the future of photography.
Both Kodak and Polaroid should be in a two way battle with each other and that battle should be about digital photo filters and social photography. So the big question here is, why aren’t they? Why is it instead instagam that leads in this space? And why is it that even late to the party in such a field and in such a desperate position, why haven’t they bid on instagram?
At this point, it’s probably too late to simply rebrand instagram as Kodak and so there’s undoubtedly a limit as to what instagram can bring to Kodak. This is of course other than a lifeline. Kodak are no strangers of not seeing the bigger pictures. Despite being the first company to announce the invention of digital cameras they were one of the last major brands to get into the field and only underlined their mistake by later dominating said field.
It’s been speculated that the once iconic brand will in fact sell off all of it’s digital patents portfolio in a bid to stay a float. Which again would be a bad decision seeing as outside of a niche consumer audience, digital is the only viable business left. Rumours are floating around that Google is interested and this would indeed provide greater protection in the ongoing patent war they have with Apple.
But perhaps it simply is the end of an era for Kodak as we know it and perhaps it’s survival could actually be a means to an end. The company that would gain the most from acquiring a slight controlling share would be HTC. The business they done with Beats By Dre shows a bit of forethought. Despite growing popularity, they were becoming bogged down with audio criticism and so bought a chunk of one of the biggest names in audio today. They also have a problem with their cameras and this could be a much cheaper option than a deal with the likes of Canon or Nikon. After all, Samsung, Apple and even Nokia have been making good cameras for their phones for a while, a little help would go a long way.
No matter how I look at it, Kodak never managed to manoeuvre themselves into a position whereby they can grow in the mobile market and the hedged bets they made in regards to consumers all went horribly wrong. The issue is that one eye was always on sustaining the current business model and not enough was made on revolutionising the business. It’s a shame, but sometimes the mighty must fall in order to remind those around them of what mistakes not to make.