Kodak exits camera business

February 10, 2012

Inventor of the digital camera exits market, with the brand to be licensed to camera makers.

Kodak has announced plans to exit the digital camera business by Q2 2012, as the bankrupt printer manufacturer and inventor of the digital camera attempts to cut costs, reports Reuters.

Kodak has stated that the decision will result in “significant” job losses, with the majority of the 400 people in camera research, development and marketing based in Rochester, New York. Pocket digital cameras and digital picture frames are among products no longer sold. Kodak will offer the brand available for other camera makers to license, and spokesperson Christopher Veronda states that several have expressed “significant interest”.

The move marks further cost-cutting measures as the company aims to focus on the printer market. IDC analyst Christopher Chute commented: “The printer initiative took over (in the last decade), and they took their eye off the ball in the camera and camcorder space.”

Although remaining in the top three digital camera makers in the world up to 2006, Reuters comments on Kodak’s performance in the printer market means it lags sixth in the world although was the only brand to grow in the double-digit percentage range in the last two years according to research from NPD Group.

NPD analyst Stephen Baker elaborated on the pressure from investors to dedicate focus on the printer market, as margins are higher for products including printer ink cartridges, and are
purchased more frequently: “As a business entity, their focus was always on consumable businesses, and rethinking how you can sell (camera) hardware that only sells every few years is a very different kind of business. Getting out of a market that’s declining rapidly… is probably a good idea.”

It is estimated that US camera sales have fallen by 20 percent between 2010 and 2011. Kodak have stated that the company intends to honour all related product warranties, and provide technical support and service for its cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames.

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