Kodak: We are Shuttering Our Camera Business

Kodak: We are Shuttering Our Camera Business

Eastman Kodak, the inventor of the digital camera, plans to get out of that business this year, as the bankrupt company continues to look for ways to cut costs. They announced they would concentrate on their printer business.

Sinead Carew reports for CNET:

The decision to stop selling digital cameras along with pocket video cameras and digital picture frames marks the end of an era for Kodak, which also invented the handheld camera.

Kodak, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, said on Thursday that getting out of cameras would result in “significant” job losses. Most of the 400 people in that business are based in Rochester, New York, and work in research and development and marketing.

The news comes as Kodak meets obstacles in another cost cutting move tied to its illustrious past. The company will be unable to end its 20-year sponsorship of the Hollywood Theater that hosts the Academy Awards before this year’s Oscars.

Instead of designing and selling its own cameras, Kodak will attempt to license its brand to other camera makers. Spokesman Christopher Veronda says other camera makers have expressed “significant interest”.

Kodak says it will stick with its desktop printer business, it has been focusing on it recently.

“The printer initiative took over (in the last decade), and they took their eye off the ball in the camera and camcorder space,” said IDC analyst Christopher Chute.

Even in printers, Kodak is lagging, coming in at sixth place in the U.S. market, but it is the only brand to grow in double-digit percentages in the last two years.

As the quality of digital cameras in cellphones, like the iPhone, has improved, the stand-alone camera’s relevance became limited to the high-end market, where Kodak has not been able to compete.

The company will take a charge of about $30 million to leave the business. It expects the exit to generate more than $100 million in annual operating savings.