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Monday, 30 April 2018


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So, are you referring to DxOLabs here, or DxO Mark? Because it's not clear.

DxOMark is that "testing" company (and I use that term loosely because I've never seen them publish a statistically valid measurement systems analysis) that puts out all those camera/lens ratings that mean virtually nothing in the real world.

DxOLabs the company that put out the failed DxO camera-thingy that was/is a complete bust. My expectation is we will see DxoLabs go the way of GoPro. It's just a matter of which will go first, but in either case, its a good thing because both companies are completely out of touch with providing quality products that create value for customers.

I am taking your "knows about this" as general -- that is about bankruptcy, rather than specific (about DxO) . . . forgive the following basic summary, if I have gotten that wrong.

As for bankruptcy there are textbooks on the subject. But in a nutshell the two big types of U.S. corporate bankruptcies are named for their chapters of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code: a Chapter 11 (reorginzation) and Chapter 7 (liquidation).

Chapter 7 applies when a company's liabilities exceed its assets and the business is no longer a going concern. The assets of the company are sold off and creditors get the proceeds of the sale. Usually the payment is pennies on the dollar owed, but the bankruptcy code theoretically gives a predicable, orderly, and transparent judicial process for distributing these proceeds and winding down the business (a bad situation, perhaps, but better for society than sending all the money to favored creditors and stiffing others -- or so the theory goes).

Your grocery store and DxO are likely in Chapter 11, which puts a stay on all obligations to creditors while the business gets its house in order to continue running the business. In simplified terms, the bankruptcy code represents a social judgment that it is better for lenders to take a haircut on the amounts owed to them than for a whole business to go belly-up with the attendant unemployment and other social disruption that that causes (missed mortgage payments, foreclosures on employee's homes, etc.). There are multiple flavors, but generally one of two things happens: either a new lender comes along who agrees to take out the old lenders on new terms (typically longer time to pay, but higher interest to reflect the risks of lending to a troubled borrower), or the stockholders are shown the door, and the lenders convert their loans into equity and try their hand at running or selling the business. These get complicated as their are often several different kinds of lenders (secured (like a bank with a mortgage, or a car company with a lien on your car title), unsecured (e.g., like credit card debt)) and within these there can be classes of debt who have agreed up front to be senior or junior to one another and (again, theoretically) have priced their debt accordingly.

Unlike a judge looking at an ordinary company and asking whether an action is in the best interests of stockholders, a U.S. bankruptcy judge is looking at the creditors and trying to decide what is in their best interests. That is, in essence, the whole point. Without an orderly bankruptcy process, no lender would ever lend to a borrower -- in this sense bankruptcy (along with insurance, but that's a separate essay) is the underpinning of all transactions in the economy.

Why does it take so much time to work out? Well, every business is different and has its own collection of creditors. In addition, any BR judge would be grateful to have an agreed-upon settlement among all the classes of creditors to work with, rather than trying to figure it all out on her own. So there is likely horse-trading going on behind the scenes, and creditors playing games of chicken with one another in order to figure out whether it is better to cut a deal or hold out for a judge to make a decision.

In fact, it is exactly the point of a well run bankruptcy system to enable DxO to support its existing customer base, continue to release new versions of its software, continue to pay its employees, and so on, all while trying to figure out what to do about its debt service. The process ideally saves them from having to "rebuild their plane while in mid-air." It doesn't always work, of course. And the disaster of the comnpany's complete collapse and the selling off of its assets at an almost complete loss is the end-game the creditors are trying to avoid.

The most likely cause of DXO's problem is that they diversified into hardware manufacture i.e. the DXO One camera module for iPhones.

Going from a software company to manufacturing (obviously third party) dealing with large capital outlays, inventory (with costs), tooling costs / commitments etc.

Business schools are littered with case studies of businesses failing after diversifying into areas where they have no expertise.

Obviously we don't know for sure but my monies on the DXO One:-)

Chapter 11 is a section of US bankruptcy law, if they're a French company wouldn't they be reorganizing under French law?

[Today's announcement begins, "On March 7, 2018, DxO Labs chose to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection and is now in the process of restructuring the business." --Mike]

I had read that DxO Labs had filed for banruptcy protection (under French law) a few months ago.

Chapter 11 was added to the US bankruptcy act in a big re-write in 1978, and grants protection from most creditors while the company tries to reorganize and stay in business, as opposed to straight liquidation. One of my first jobs out of law school was working for the trustee overseeing the liquidation of a long-established Seattle company. It had tried to file for Chapter 11, but the banks had its accounts so tied up that it couldn't afford the postage for the notice to creditors, so it switched to Chapter 7 (liquidation).

Wonder what's happening with the DxO One camera.

I hope that the DXO software survives this bankruptcy as it is a great piece of software. It was just getting much more interesting too with the inclusion of the Nik tools.

I started using it some time ago as it was about the only software that solved the horrific CA’s that I get with my Panasonic 12-35/EM5 combination. From a total disaster, this software turned the combination into a dream team for me.

The inclusion of the Nik tools took be back to the happy situation I had when I used Nikon’s CX software with my D300. These point tools are a little bit like working in the darkroom with dodging and burning tools. These tools give me just the level of retouching I want; quick dodging and burning, without hours spent at the computer with masks.

The signs that not all was well were evident when the company split in two a few months ago. The software finished up lumped together with the cell phone camera, which is probably the cause of the financial problems. Let’s hope the testing arm buys the software rights or some other accounting “magic” is performed. Having been involved as a creditor in a recent bankruptcy, it is better to take talk of resurrections and continuation of business with a pinch of salt.

From what I have read the French “Chapter 11” process is a bit different to the USA version.

This affair just shows how fragile our imaging is today, we rely on software that is here today and gone tomorrow, soon too obsolete to be useful after a few months when support is lost.

This will be my third major software that has gone west; the Raw convertor (name forgotten) that became Lightroom, Digital Light and Color’s Picture Window Pro and now DXO.

My guess is they used Chapter 11terminology to communicate the type of bankruptcy they were entering. Most people would not recognise the French law equivalent.

Aside from the bankruptcy chatter already posted, I've been a user since version 5. My initial interest being lens correction and perspective control. More recently the Prime Denoising feature gives a nice boost for m43 files. While I never really preferred it for global adjustments 'a la Lightroom' (the on screen response being a bit laggy) I do remain very optimistic on the integration of the Nik suite of tools. If this is well done in regards to user interface and output results, it could make DXO a serious contender in the photo software market. The fact there is a "pre-installed" Nik fan base doesn't hurt.

I've been a customer of DxO's imaging software for about 10 years, loyally upgrading on each release. I even have a DxO ONE camera, although I use it less now given the improved cameras in later iPhones.

I can get a better result with DxO PhotoLab than with Adobe Lightroom, but Photoshop clobbers them both.

I hope DxO prospers and look forward to the integration of the Nik software suite into PhotoLab.

"This affair just shows how fragile our imaging is today, we rely on software that is here today and gone tomorrow, soon too obsolete to be useful after a few months when support is lost."

I fully agree with this comment from Nigel. Mass market digital photography is well into its second decade now, but software for editing raw files remains, by far, its weakest link.

Good luck recovering your raw file edits once the software you used is no longer made, updated or supported. And migrating all your files every time a software program is discontinued is a non-starter because for even the most casual hobbyists, that means potentially dealing with migrating and updating thousands of raw images again (and again) with every discontinuation.

And don't get me started on how much time and effort it takes to edit raw files on clunky, slow, buggy software -- which imho includes pretty much all products on the market today, including Adobe's and camera makers' products.

No wonder so many casual photographers just use a phone or out of camera JPGs.

On the French version of its website (https://www.dxo.com/fr/about/news), DxO says

Le 7 mars 2018, la société DxO Labs a choisi de se placer sous un régime d’administration judiciaire, le temps pour elle de procéder à une réorganisation interne.

As it's a French company, I tend to think this is the "original" text and that the reference to Chapter 11 in the English version is just a way to render the notion of a "régime d’administration judiciaire" (literally, "a regime of judicial administration").

I'm using DxO Optics Pro as my primary RAW processor. I love it. And I love that it isn't using the subscription model which, to me, is just software companies treating their customers like cash machines. I have always skipped one or two software upgrades on all my programs. I'm still using Word 2003, which is just fine for everything I do. I hate the learning curve that each update requires and I hate the idea of turning on the computer to do some work and finding that everything has changed because of an automatic update.

I also use the NIK tools and am looking forward to being able to use them with DxO if they survive long enough to do another upgrade.

Maybe I'll just go ahead and upgrade to the latest DxO version just as a way of providing my personal vote of confidence. It's a great program and works so well that it has nearly automated my RAW conversion workflow.

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