What happened to Kodak?

Eastman Kodak- what was once one of the largest and most powerful companies in the film industry, today only has a market capitalization of less than 1 billion. What happened to Kodak? A company that was formally an American icon, has since filed for bankruptcy.

Eastman Kodak was founded in 1892 by George Eastman. Born in Waterville New York in 1854. He invented and patented a dry plate coating machine. His company helped create smaller easy to us cameras that allowed photography to be easily accessible, as well as flexible film which was a critical point in the development of motion picture.george-eastmanFor years, Kodak’s main selling point was there film. When digital photography began to take hold in society- Kodak began to sell less and less film, as people would rather upload a photo digitally to their computers than print it.

Kodak however, did invest in digital photography. In fact, the first prototype of a digital camera was invented by Steve Sasson, an engineer for Kodak.

Unfortunately Kodak tried to match their digital photography with that of their film photography, in fear of losing their film business. They did not jump on the opportunity to innovate their photos into the new digital age of social media.


In 2001, they created a photo sharing site titled “Ofoto” however, the site was focused on trying to get costumers to print out their photos in order to sell more of their film. The site was later purchased by Shutterfly for less than $25 million as part of their bankruptcy plan. In 2011, their shares had fallen by more than 80 percent.

While Kodak understood that digital cameras were the future, invested in them and began to integrate into a new digital age of photography, they failed to realize that photo sharing and social media is what today’s photography is made of- not just a new way for them to sell their film the same way they had been doing for years in the past.

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