Likewise back in the day, Kodak was photography, not only in America but in much of the world. Today, the Eastman Kodak Co., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
We all knew this was coming. We all know time marches on . . . no matter how much we hate that fact. And I hope most of us are wise enough to know that change is a constant, but it isn't always progress.
STILL, the headline in today's New York Times is a totally expected shocker:
Eastman Kodak said early Thursday that it filed for bankruptcy protection, as the 131-year-old film pioneer struggled to adapt to an increasingly digital world.FIRST KODACHROME -- or rather the demise thereof -- and now this. It's enough to make a grown geek cry, one old enough to cherish the memory of his first Instamatic Hawkeye and who still has his parents' old Brownies.
As part of its filing, made in the federal bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York, Kodak will seek to continue selling a portfolio of 1,100 digital imaging patents to raise cash for its loss-making operations. The company plans to continue operating normally as it reorganizes under Chapter 11 protection.
“Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation,” said Antonio M. Perez, the company’s chief executive, said in a news release. “At the same time as we have created our digital business, we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs, and reducing our workforce by 47,000 since 2003. Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetizing non-core I.P. assets.”
The company said it obtained $950 million debtor-in-possession from Citigroup to provide it liquidity to operate during bankruptcy. Kodak said that its non-American subsidiaries are not part of the filing.
Kodak has become the latest giant to falter in the face of advancing technology. The Borders Group liquidated last year after having failed to gain a toehold in e-books, while Blockbuster sold itself to Dish Network last year as its retail outlets lost ground to online competitors like Netflix.
Founded in 1880 by George Eastman, Kodak became one of America’s most notable companies, helping establish the market for camera film and then dominating the field. But it has suffered from a variety of problems over the past four decades.
All together now: Sic transit gloria mundi.