[pure-silver] Re: Amusing Kodak commercial

  • From: "Richard Knoppow" <dickburk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <pure-silver@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 03:53:37 -0800

----- Original Message ----- From: <afterswift@xxxxxxx>
To: <pure-silver@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 3:03 AM
Subject: [pure-silver] Re: Amusing Kodak commercial

About 20 years ago Kodak lost a court case with Polaroid for stealing Polaroid's patents when Kodak produced their version of the instant print camera. Since then both litigants have been outrun by digital and those patents aren't worth very much to either party. Dr. Land's company doesn't exist anymore. Polaroid's remaining business is in the hands of other outfits, producing components of the original line as part of the bankruptcy settlements.

But Kodak isn't a one-product outfit as was Polaroid. Kodak is into many different fields, some of them industrial. But the Polaroid case does reveal that Kodak no longer had an enterprising corporate culture even in the 1980s. They reworked traditional technology instead of improving it. They were good at marketing as the leader in an oligopoly. Kodak lost that niche when the economy really went global and new cyber technology changed the nature of photography. Then new competitors became independent of Kodak patents and influence.

The decline of Kodak had it roots in a corporate culture that was slow to change. Reminds me of IBM during the rise of the PC. They had no idea of where the market was or how large it could become. And didn't really care. The big oil outfits are headed for the same cold shower.

The Kodak CEO is merely a chip off the old blockheads who ran Kodak in the recent past.


I have been told by someone who I think knows that Kodak could have won this patent litegation if it had persevered. I also was told by a person employed as a consultant by Polaroid some years ago that she got disgusted with them because they just sat on their hands and did no research on new products. I don't think Kodak quite fell into this trap but large companies can become paralyzed by size. The fact is that Kodak still had (and has) the best technology for such things as coating uniformity. Smaller companies, who try to fill in products, often don't have this knowledge. I think untimately the problem is that companies like Kodak are essentially investment services for their stockholders and have little interest in the specific products or services they provide as long as they make a sufficient profit. Note BTW that Kodak turned down what became the Xerox machine because "We are a chemical company and this is not a chemical process" attributed to C.E.K.Mees.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA
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