An internal memo from Kodak to employees about getting out of the camera business provides insight not revealed in the press release. The memo has a straightforward Q&A section. This is an excerpt:
How can Kodak, the company that popularized cameras, be without a camera in the future?
We want to take all that is great about our heritage and apply it to new market realities as we complete our transformation to a profitable, sustainable digital company. We continue to be in the imaging business. Image capture on the other hand is rapidly moving to multi function devices such as smart phones, and the point-and-shoot camera market is evolving.
Is Kodak now a printing company?
Kodak has consistently described itself as a digital imaging, materials science and materials deposition company, which accurately conveys the depth of our technology and product and service portfolio in consumer and commercial segments.
I feel like we’ve made a lot of progress in improving this business. Couldn’t we still have made it profitable?
The progress we have made has been substantial and widely recognized by senior management. We should be proud of that. However, with the accelerating market decline and the increased liquidity challenges for Kodak, it became apparent that we could not sustain continued investment and operating losses, and the decision was made to exit.
The memo serves as a reminder there are people behind the products. Kodak unveiled new items, including a Wi-Fi camera, at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show. The company website says not all of them will launch.
Kodak workers made a video of the company’s CES display. It features the digital cameras, frames and video recorders now being discontinued. While watching, it’s hard not to think about the effort that went into making these products, the workers who will be affected and the company’s identity. Here’s the video: