Last year, 74 million digital cameras were sold worldwide, outperforming film cameras for the first time. Even though Kodak began the digital imaging revolution in 1974, with the first "electronic hand held still camera", it made a late entry into the space, losing out to Japanese rivals. Only now, the company seems to have caught up with its competitors, ranking third in consumer digital camera sales worldwide behind Sony and Canon. Nevertheless, even if Kodak holds a good position in the market today, we can predict that it will not last. The company is present in each field of the digital world: cameras, printers, mini labs, paper, online system, and the development of all these products show the deep will of Kodak to stay competitive. However, the firm is facing difficulties in each of these segments, and these weaknesses will jeopardize its future. Kodak today is not the leader in the photography world anymore.
[...] To survive, Kodak should try to capitalise on new opportunities in trying to design easier-to-use equipment. But we can not hope a good future for Kodak without any Asian acquisitions. Chinese and Japanese companies are pioneers in technologies, and seem to be the only solution for Kodak to survive. Digital is by far less capital-intensive than film. All the real investments of Kodak could consist of acquisitions or takeovers in Asian firms, as it began to do with Chinon industries for example. [...]
[...] A field in which Kodak is still a leader is photo-quality paper. Of course, with the decrease of the amount of printing today, this product is not a growth opportunity for Kodak. The potential growth of Kodak today could come from the fact that it can build a real Kodak network in the digital world. Everyone knows the successful story of Apple, which created a network of users around the world. The firm is successful thanks to the values it conveys, which are shared by all Apple's fans: freedom, simplicity, rapidity Kodak managed to do this as well when it launched the first wireless consumer digital camera, Easyshare one, which is part of the company's efforts to create a networked system in digital photography, that allows consumers to view, e-mail, or print their images anywhere, anytime. [...]
[...] Kodak decided to stay competitive in its traditional business, so as not to disappoint traditional consumers and to develop its expertise in traditional photographic items. The firm kept on investing selectively in paper and films, while it invested massively in digital technologies. To coordinate both actions, Kodak managed to raise new money for its digital investments, and did not delete the budgets dedicated to traditional products. Nevertheless, despite these efforts made to protect its position into the traditional photography industry, the company had no choice, and had to abandon some of its former activities. [...]
[...] Even if Kodak has a good market share thanks to its own digital cameras today, it will undoubtedly stay a follower in this part of the industry because camera phones will soon outnumber digital cameras. We can expect a decrease of Kodak's market share in this field soon. Another new trend in photography is affecting printing. Kodak is present in printing under different forms: it sells home printers, creates digital kiosks and labs for retailers, and has its own online printing system. [...]
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