Meanwhile, continuing the business news from yesterday, Kodak is continuing its own pathetic/bathetic death wallow. Most recently, it has sold off its profitable CCD sensor division to raise cash.
This ain't pretty to watch. Wasn't there an old folk tale about a man who dismantled his house stick by stick and fed it into the fireplace to keep warm, until the house was gone, the fire went out, and he was entirely exposed to the howling wind?
The buyer is Tom Gores' Platinum Equity, which at least has a track record of rebuilding and strengthening its purchases and is not just a financial vulture or an assets chop-shop.
Kodak makes the sensors used in Leica digital cameras and some medium-format backs, and is either a current or former supplier of, um, Olympus. (Maybe some others too—some of these arrangements are hush-hush so it's sometimes difficult to know who makes what for whom.)
Kodak sold the building along with the business. Another 263,000 square feet of Kodak Park gone the way of all things. Some 200 employees as well as certain contractors are reportedly being offered jobs with Platinum.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Geoff Wittig: "To my knowledge Kodak didn't kill off their R&D to temporarily inflate stock prices, as Bill suggests in the Comments section. To the contrary, their R&D was very robust almost to the bitter end. Their core problem was a depressingly consistent failure to execute the transition from R&D to marketable product. This evidently was because decades of high margins on print film created a corporate culture of zombie complacency. Potential products that didn't offer an immediate profit margin similar to print film's languished or died, no matter how promising. One example: a Kodak research lab developed a process for rapid injection molding of small glass lenses, with such high precision that no subsequent grinding was needed. Management couldn't see how to turn a profit on that fast enough to suit them, so it was given away to Sony for pennies. Those little lenses can be found in basically every CD/DVD drive on the planet, but they never earned anything for Kodak. Lather, rinse, repeat....
"Of course, such mind-boggling shortsightedness is something of a Rochester N.Y. tradition. The other big zombie company in town is Xerox; they famously created much of the core technology behind modern personal computing, from the 'mouse' to the graphical interface to local networks, at their Palo Alto research branch (Xerox-PARC) waaaaay back in the 1970s–80s. Then they dithered for another decade after giving Steve Jobs a glimpse...and the rest is history."