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In early 2012, I wrote about the enormous government help Xerox received to open a call center at its Webster campus. The incentives were so generous, Xerox essentially didn’t pay for the retrofit of one of its buildings. Taxpayers subsidized Xerox so it could offer low-wage jobs.

Now, Xerox is getting help again. The state is kicking in money to help RTS get workers to the remote facility. RTS is reinstating a late night line, as well as weekend service.

In a press release, Heather L. Smith, Senior Vice President of Delivery Transformation and Global Capabilities for Xerox Business Services, said:

“The impact of the bus reinstatement is profound. When we announced this to our employees, we were overcome by their positive and emotional response. Our employees are conscientious and do what it takes to get to work on time. In fact, one woman shared that taking the bus means she will no longer spend $50 a day to get to and from work.”

It doesn’t seem to occur to Xerox it played a role in that poor woman’s plight when it decided to open a call center where few people live, one that’s not regularly serviced by transit, and to which it is nearly impossible to walk or bike.

In the future, companies seeking government help to add jobs should be required to locate those jobs near their employee base. If they choose not to, they should be required to pay RTS for their transportation. (Some companies and nursing homes, including Xerox, already pay RTS to cover some of the cost of getting employees to work.) Xerox got another government handout when it got the state to pay for this bus line.

Here’s why the idea of locating jobs near people is important. The Brookings Institution found only two-thirds of jobs in the Rochester metropolitan region are in places served by buses. Even worse, fewer than one-third of residents can get to a job within 90 minutes on a bus. The study found people have an easier time getting to jobs in the city than in the suburbs. Almost all city residents live super close to a bus stop.

When jobs sprawl, there are costs to infrastructure and the environment. But there are also social costs. Poor people get left behind. The Democrat and Chronicle recently reported in three poor neighborhoods on the east side of the city:

Good luck finding a job in these parts of the city, where fewer than one in 10 residents is employed in the neighborhood where he or she lives. More than half of residents who do have jobs are forced to commute to the suburbs.

It’s great Xerox call center workers can now access transit. But RTS cannot do this for all jobs in the suburbs.  There has to be critical mass for regular routes. Our government leaders must take into account where jobs are located and who is expected to fill those jobs the next time a CEO comes looking for a handout.

 

Provided photo: New employees at the Xerox call center in Webster met today with Mike Zimmer, President of US Large Operations at Xerox, Heather Smith, Senior Vice President of Delivery Transformation and Global Capabilities at Xerox, Vincent Esposito, Regional Director of the Empire State Development Finger Lakes Regional Office, and Bill Carpenter, CEO of RTS to say thank you for the new commuter express service.

Provided photo: New employees at the Xerox call center in Webster met today with Mike Zimmer, President of US Large Operations at Xerox, Heather Smith, Senior Vice President of Delivery Transformation and Global Capabilities at Xerox, Vincent Esposito, Regional Director of the Empire State Development Finger Lakes Regional Office, and Bill Carpenter, CEO of RTS to say thank you for the new commuter express service.

David Mohney, 2010

David Mohney, 2010

Xerox Square is about to have a new owner. Buckingham Properties is buying the landmark property, which houses operations for 1,400 workers. For now, Xerox is the only tenant in the building. Buckinghman Properties will makeover Xerox’s neighbor, Midtown Tower, in the coming months.

Xerox Square was built in the mid-1960s on the former site of Loew’s Theater. At 443 feet and 30 stories, it remains the tallest building in Rochester. At the time it was built, it was the tallest building made of exposed garnet aggregate concrete. Soon after it was completed, Xerox moved its headquarters to Stamford, Connecticut.

According to Concrete Repair Bulletin, the building was damaged in a mild 1998 earthquake. Concrete fell from the third floor, revealing deterioration and extensive “honeycombs” that allowed moisture and corrosion. The facade was repaired between 2002 and 2005, requiring 100,000 man hours. It was a challenge to match the aesthetics of the concrete finish.

XeroxXerox Square had been for sale since 2009. The purchase by Buckingham and commitment to keep employees there is a good thing. The Bausch + Lomb building downtown is still for sale. Chase recently invested millions of dollars to renovate its high rise. The HSBC building appears to be in flux, as the bank has pulled out of many operations.

Xerox Square is an important part of the Rochester skyline. I’ve appreciated it more as time goes by. It’s stark and elegant. Some days it looks gray. Other days it looks black. Rochester really does have a cool skyline, doesn’t it? No other Upstate city has a cluster of such easily identifiable tall buildings, indicating you’re home.

Skyline

 

Links of the Day:

– Federal authorities are trying to figure out how a child rape and murder suspect deactivated his ankle monitor.

An assembly proposal would expand bottle deposits.

The YNN rebranding effort is a giant marketing fail.

An Auschwitz survivor is trying to find his twin.

 

Brookings Institution maps migration from 2010-2012. New York is a big loser.

Brookings Institution maps migration from 2010-2012. New York is a big loser.

Xerox featuredXerox is no longer the “Document Company.” It no longer wants to be known for…Xeroxing stuff.

Business services now accounts for more than half of Xerox revenue. It’s a lot harder to brand a company offering a wide range of back office services than one making copiers. What the heck does Xerox do, anyway? (Better yet, what doesn’t it do?)

Xerox’s Vice-President of Advertising Barbara Basney explains the company’s new business services identity in a blog post:

What does that mean exactly?   Well…it means that we are behind the scenes helping simplify the way work gets done for customers in areas like Human ResourcesF&AHealthcare,  Customer CarePublic Transportation and Document Management.

Are you surprised that this is what Xerox is all about?  If so, you are not alone, as the majority of people don’t know Xerox is a leading provider of business solutions and services.

To get the message out, Xerox has a new advertising campaign called “Made Simple By Xerox.”

At the beginning of the first ad, the actress says a copier machine is a “tough act to follow.” She says, “At Xerox, we’ve embraced a new role.” After she walks us through some of the services provided by Xerox, she says, “How’s that for an encore?”

The second ad starts with the actress saying, “When I say, Xerox, I know what you’re thinking.” She presses a copy machine button. Like the first ad, she walks us through Xerox’s services.

What do you think of the campaign? On the one hand, Xerox wants you to know it is the king of copiers. On the other hand, it wants you to know the copy machine age is a thing of the past. I think that was the main point of the ads. “Business services” is hard to explain in 30 seconds.

Links of the Day:

– A New York Post columnist seen as favorable to Cuomo slams him in a piece that alleges the governor is “running around like a banshee” worried about poll numbers.

– Syracuse police don’t always release mugshots. Open records experts say that’s not cool.

Albany has a thriving online farmers market.

– You’ll get misty, reading this story about a Central New York family. Just do it.

– The “Hoffman’s Hottie” speaks. Please, Zweigle’s, don’t get into this kind of drama.

Xerox does a lot of things these days apart from making copiers: Traffic cameras, airline call centers, parking meters, health care exchanges and digitizing government records.

Add another one: Scanning the fingers of low-income parents who drop off their children to daycare.

Mississippi has awarded a massive contract to Xerox to come up with such a system. The idea is to make sure parents getting government vouchers for daycare are actually using the service and not wasting tax dollars. Louisiana is the only other state that scans parents’ fingers.

Aside from shaming poor people, this is problematic on so many levels. Daycares can’t predict when parents won’t drop off their children, so they have to maintain certain staffing levels. Some parents might be scared by finger scans and not utilize daycare. Providers have to man the machine at all times to make sure it’s being used properly. Xerox is installing the scans free of charge, but daycares are responsible for any damage. If a parent forgets to swipe her finger, the daycare might not get paid.

The cost of Xerox’s $12.9 million contract for finger scans is now coming under fire.

In a state that has more than 8,000 children on a waiting list for daycare, you’d think this money could have been used more wisely.

Links of the Day:

– This whole “open enrollment” idea for poor city students is a wonderful idea, if only suburban districts would welcome them with open arms.

– Senator Chuck Schumer defends federal spending at the Genesee County yogurt manufacturing complex. I previously wrote about this “Yogurt Welfare.”

– University of Albany students are accused of forcing fraternity pledges to lie face down in water, beating them with rubber hoses and making them beg for mercy.

– The supermarket wars in Massachusetts heat up, with Wegmans in the fray.

– Real New York Times headline: Finally, a Place in Brazil Where Dogs Can Go for Discreet Sex.

It’s pretty clear Xerox is no longer just a company making copiers. I’m amazed at the services Xerox now provides:

All of this has implications for Rochester and the company’s future. Service jobs generally don’t pay as well as R&D and manufacturing jobs. But the company’s transformation is fascinating watch. If you missed it, Xerox released the video below earlier this year to describe its new mission:

Links of the Day:

– Harper Sibley is giving up his dream of starting another ferry service in Rochester.

– Monroe County will now Google vendors before giving them contracts.

– Destiny USA looks like a prison, so the mall is adding “architectural elements.”

Child care costs exceed rent in most states.

Xerox explained to the Lexington Herald-Leader why it only pays call center workers $10 an hour plus benefits. Xerox, with its acquisition of ACS, has 5,000 workers in Kentucky. The issue came up because Amazon announced it is opening a call center paying workers $15 an hour plus benefits.

The newspaper asked CEO Ursula Burns and COO Connie Harvey if Amazon’s wages will force Xerox to up worker pay:

Burns: …we have a business to run. We pay the market. So we’ll continue to pay to market on the jobs we have in Kentucky,

(snip)

Harvey: And we have not, at least until this point in time, had trouble finding employees. If we started having trouble finding employees, we would not be putting more jobs here. So we’ll see how it plays out.

(snip)

Q: When you say you pay “market,” what is considered market here?

Harvey: In Lexington, we usually pay $10 an hour plus benefits. And then obviously with seniority and advanced skill sets, that can increase.

(snip)

Harvey: We look at it, we’ve got to be competitive for the customer. We can give them a call center in India, we can give them a call center in Lexington, we can give them a call center in Lexington or Phoenix.

Xerox pays low wages because it has no trouble finding people to work for low wages. And if it can’t find people to work for low wages, it will go elsewhere.

“They could move those jobs to India and pay $10 a day,” said tax expert, Rochesterian and Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston. “The fundamental trend is to push U.S. wages down in a global economy.”

Xerox can run its business the way it wants. But should government continue to pay Xerox to open call centers under the guise of economic development? How does a $10-an-hour worker contribute to the economy when he can barely support himself, much less his family?

Call centers are often criticized for low wages, opening and closing quickly, having no career track for workers and having high turnover.

The comments from the Xerox executives are particularly troubling for the Rochester area as Xerox transitions into a service-based company. As Burns recently told the Democrat and Chronicle, “The thing that made Xerox ‘Xerox’ in Rochester, which was the maker of technology, will not be the exclamation point after that.”

In other words, say hello to more call center jobs and say goodbye to the thought of more engineers.

Rochester needs to make things, invent things and provide high-level services. Call centers may be good for people desperate for jobs (emphasis on may), but we cannot call them a win for our community and economy.

Xerox has a new promotional video called “A World Made Simpler…by Xerox.”

Xerox uses document imagery throughout the video, as if wanting to remind us of its rich heritage in the copy machine business. But the video is absolutely not about documents. It touts the company’s shift into being a service provider that creates systems for paying for the bus, monitoring traffic, setting up call centers and helping your doctor access your health data.

I was left wondering what Xerox does. When a company wants to be known less for making things and more for what it provides, it becomes harder to define.

More importantly, the evolving Xerox brand has major implications for Rochester, its technology center. It could mean fewer jobs and lower-wage jobs. In a quote that resonates, Ursula Burns told the Democrat and Chronicle recently:

While Rochester will remain the headquarters and primary hub of Xerox’s technology business, Burns said, “The thing that made Xerox ‘Xerox’ in Rochester, which was the maker of technology, will not be the exclamation point after that.”

Links of the Day:

– The Democrat and Chronicle says the Trayvon Martin case is a reminder there’s a “perception of racial injustice in the country among people of color.” The editorial says the courts are filled with black and Hispanic defendants, while juries, court personnel and law enforcement officers are mostly white.

The paper said the justice system needs “shoring up,” implying it’s seriously damaged. I’m sure there is racial bias and diversity is an extremely important goal. But the editorial ignores the reasons there’s a preponderance of racial minorities in the justice system: drug laws, poverty, segregation and the lack of educational opportunities. Diversifying the Hall of Justice may not result in different outcomes.

In the wake of Trayvon’s death, I understand reflection about racial profiling, Stand Your Ground Laws, gated communities and police conduct. But I’m not sure the Trayvon case is symbolic of extensive racial bias and injustice in the legal system. (The case is far from over!) And I don’t think the Democrat and Chronicle‘s remedies – while necessary – will do anything to fix what’s really broken.

– Xerox CEO Ursula Burns has an ominous quote in the Democrat and Chronicle about the future of the company in Rochester:

While Rochester will remain the headquarters and primary hub of Xerox’s technology business, Burns said, “The thing that made Xerox ‘Xerox’ in Rochester, which was the maker of technology, will not be the exclamation point after that.”

As the company moves into the service industry, the impact on jobs in Rochester is unclear. Burns says if the new call center, which she prefers to call “customer care,” is successful, that could be an area of growth. That’s not particularly heartening, as those jobs, while needed, pay an average of $25,000. Engineers earn significantly more.

– School districts have a devil of a time removing bad teachers. Gannett runs down a bunch of teachers accused of misconduct who are still on the payroll. These kinds of stories are important, but they miss a larger issue. The arbitration system needs to be reformed. It’s costly and lengthy. Furthermore, BOTH sides abuse the arbitration process. ALL government entities that use arbitration have a hard time removing employees. The focus is on teachers because they deal with children, but arbitration laws in general need to be overhauled.

– A Syracuse company owns hundreds of Burger King restaurants across the country and is playing a key role in overhauling the brand. Burger King now has a stake in the firm.

– The drab Hamilton highrise on Mt. Hope Ave., now part of the Erie Harbor development, underwent a colorful paint job and renovation. This is the Paris version.

Should weird modern buildings be saved from the wrecking ball?

Links of the Day:

– Xerox is cutting an unspecified number of research and development jobs. The Democrat and Chronicle reports 189 workers got the ax companywide.

The job cuts come in the wake of Xerox getting a heavily-subsidized call center in Webster. The company is getting so many government incentives, the new facility may end up costing nothing.

Bob Lonsberry contrasts the lost R&D jobs to the gain of call center jobs:

Yesterday, with yet another round of layoffs, Ursula Burns – Xerox CEO and Obama economic advisor – showed again why employees never smile when they say her name.

Yesterday, at a company that sells high-tech products, she laid off more research and development staff. The engineers who would have invented tomorrow’s gee-whiz technologies, will instead by collecting tomorrow’s unemployment checks.

The same woman who complains that America isn’t training enough engineers, eliminated a few hundred American engineering jobs.

<snip>

While being bribed by politicians to bring in crap jobs.

<snip>

Xerox took taxpayer money to bring in low-wage, dead-end, call-center jobs. And it dumped hundreds of well-paid, professional, engineering jobs.

– The Buffalo News has done some of the best journalism on the LeRoy illness. Without sensationalism, the in-depth stories have clearly explained conversion disorder and given credence to experts. Today’s Q&A further debunks alternate theories, while questioning the role of the media.

– White firefighters in Buffalo will get paid a settlement for being passed over for promotions.

– In 1915, crews made the Genesee River downtown 10 feet deeper. The Democrat and Chronicle shows us how it was done.

Kodak.com

More Links of the Day, Kodak version:

– During a bankruptcy, it’s not uncommon for CEOs to get big bonuses. The Wall Street Journal lists a number of chief executive officers who made out like bandits while laying off workers, closing factories and watching their companies sink into financial oblivion.

For example, Lear Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2009. It’s CEO got a bonus of $5.4 million and stock worth $11.78 million when the company emerged from bankruptcy.

There’s a federal rule designed to curb such payouts, but corporations have found a way around it through special incentive packages. Here’s an excerpt from the WSJ article, which is behind a paywall:

By examining court documents and regulatory filings, The Wall Street Journal was able to determine the pay of executives at 21 of the 100 largest companies that recently went through bankruptcy. Together, the chief executives of those firms earned more than $350 million in salary, bonuses, stock grants and severance for the periods their companies were under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection or just afterward.

 

The median compensation of the 21 CEOs was $8.7 million—not far off from the $9.1 million median compensation in 2010 for CEOs of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, according to data compiled by Kevin Murphy, a University of Southern California finance professor.

There is much speculation about the future of Kodak’s CEO Antonio Perez. If he survives the company’s trip through bankruptcy – it’s possible creditors will force him out – details about his compensation will be filed with the court. The judge would have to approve any incentive packages. But as the WSJ noted, there is precedence for rewarding CEOs that helped their companies fail and then come back to life.

– Kodak asked the bankruptcy court’s permission to pay $40 million to a select group of vendors. In a court filing (read it here) the company notes it has 2,000 vendors who are owed $332 million. The vendors Kodak wants to pay now are suppliers of raw materials and chemicals, as well as information technology services. Kodak calls them critical. Law 360 reports, in an article behind a paywall, the judge postponed a decision on the request:

The pushback from the judge and the ensuing delay are notable because motions to pay critical vendors in large corporate bankruptcies are often granted right away, in part because when key vendors don’t get paid they might threaten to halt delivery of important goods and services that will allow the company to keep operating.

 

There are plenty of reasons for judges to be cautious about granting such motions. In particular, they allow the critical vendors — who would otherwise just be unsecured creditors — to jump to the very front of the line.

While the rest of the unsecured creditors will have to wait — possibly for years — to get paid back some of what they’re owed for prepetition claims, critical vendors who are plucked from the bunch get their money before the case even really gets underway.

– Bankruptcy has a human toll. The Harvard Business Review talks about the pain shared by workers and a community. The article quotes former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy:

Anne Mulcahy, the former CEO of Xerox, understood how devastating a bankruptcy would be to her employees. In 2000, when her advisers recommended that Xerox file for bankruptcy, she said the following:

“You just don’t get it. You don’t understand what it’s like to be an employee in this company. To fight and come out and win. Bankruptcy’s never a win. You know what? I’m not going there until there’s no other decision to be made. There are a lot more cards to play.”

Mulcahy’s concern about employees paid off. Her conviction carried Xerox through four years of struggle to undeniable success.

– Readers of Rochester Business Journal are divided on whether Kodak can emerge from bankruptcy.

– CNN looks at the success of Kodak spinoff, Eastman Chemical.

Is Xerox, which posted profits of $1.3 billion last year, getting a call center courtesy of taxpayers?

Xerox – after several weeks of mildly threatening to locate the call center elsewhere – decided to proceed with plans to renovate a portion of Building 200 in Webster. The call center would employ 500 people over two years and cost $4.3 million.

The company had already been awarded $271,000 in county sales tax breaks. But the state press release made clear what sealed the deal: a $1 million grant and $5 million in job creation tax credits.

If you do the math, $1 million plus $5 million minus $4.3 million means Xerox comes out ahead.

Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy and County Executive Maggie Brooks seemed genuinely started when I pointed out the call center would essentially be free and questioned the accuracy of the state’s press release.

But both defended giving the project incentives.

“It’s not about giving anyone a free call center. It’s all about leveling the playing field for companies that want to stay here because they have a larger investment,” said Brooks.

“I can assure you that other governors in other states would be right there offering to build this,” said Duffy.

A Xerox spokesman disputed the idea the company would be getting a free call center. He tax credits are not cash and they are paid out after many years and only if Xerox creates and retains jobs. But the spokesman could not say exactly how much money the tax credits would be worth.

Austin Shafran, a spokesman for the Empire State Development Corporation, also said this is not a free call center. He said tax credits are paid out over 10 years and Xerox must adhere to its job creation and investment agreement.

“Only after verifiable proof has been demonstrated will the company get the tax credits,” Shafran said. “The tax credits are paid off over a long term period, get paid off over 10 years.”

Shafran says it’s not fair to compare tax credits with Xerox’s $4.3 million investment. I disagree because Xerox may not have moved forward with the call center without the incentives. Tax credits are worth money, whether Xerox realizes that savings up front or down the road. The fact is the company could eventually recoup its $4.3 investment.

As for the jobs being created, Xerox couldn’t say how much they would pay. Innovation Trail points out call centers don’t pay a whole lot. Also, Xerox is being rewarded for creating 500 jobs after eliminating 500 local jobs in 2011. (Two-hundred-fifty were outsourced to another company, much to the consternation of those workers.)

Whether the state foots the bill for some or all of this project, it’s clear taxpayers are paying a lot so a multi-billion dollar corporation can rehab an existing building to create low-paying jobs.

Links of the Day:

– Arthur Shawcross wasn’t Rochester’s only serial killer. John White was suspected of murdering prostitutes around the same time, but he died before police could make an arrest. The Buffalo News ran a wire story crediting a database researcher for exposing the murders, which is simply not true. The case got extensive attention in Rochester in the 1990s. Reporters who remember the coverage are incredulous:

– A New York Times reporter put on a tux and crashed an exlcusive Wall Street fraternity party. What he saw is reminiscent of the Buffalo law firm Halloween party.

– Ursula Burns is selling her six-bedroom, six-bath home in Brighton. It’s quite beautiful.

– Kodak’s bankruptcy could complicate the redevelopment of Eastman Business Park. notably, Assemblyman Joe Morelle is concerned the governor’s office isn’t engaged in the importance of the industrial complex’s future.

– Maybe there’s hope for Kodak’s motion picture film division. A study finds the preservation of digital movies is a huge issue. They don’t hold up like film.

– The FCC is looking at NFL blackout rules. The Buffalo News has contact information if you’d like to weigh in. I always thought it was kind of nervy for the government to require broadcast and cable companies to block out a signal of games televised at publicly-funded stadiums. Others think one has nothing to do with the other.

– “You look like you just rolled out of bed.” Apparently, that’s all the rage now. The Wall Street Journal tells us pajama pants and loungewear is very trendy. The New York Times writes messy hair and smudged makeup is cool. Let’s hope this fad fades fast.

More Links of the Day:

– The mainstream media is finally catching onto the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), thanks to Wikipedia and other sites going dark on Wednesday. A number of protests are planned across the country, including outside the Xerox building in downtown Rochester. (Xerox is on a list of companies that support SOPA, although some companies say the list is not accurate.)

Critics say SOPA is an unnecessary law that would result in the indiscriminate shutdown and censorship of websites.

This is my favorite explainer piece on SOPA, written by a North Carolina middle school teacher for her students:

To avoid violating these proposed laws, sites claim they would have to monitor every post to their sites. Imagine if Twitter or YouTube had to approve every tweet or video to make sure it didn’t violate copyright restrictions. These sites, and others like them, are arguing that this would be virtually impossible to do and still allow people to have the kind of free information sharing they expect and enjoy.

So, why are Wikipedia and other sites “blacking out” their content tomorrow? They’re doing it as a reminder of how important the content on the internet is for many of our lives and as a way of showing that they oppose these bills and what might happen if they become law.

I also found this article on Gizmodo quite good, as well as this interview with author Tim O’Reilly. I realize I’ve shared anti-SOPA pieces. I’m worried about the tremendous power this law hands to ISPs and mega-corporations, especially now that I have my own small website.

– The Maid of the Mist is in jeopardy, as Canada considers ending its contract with the company synonymous with tours of Niagara Falls.

– Was there a fight involving 200 kids at the Liberty Pole last week? The Democrat and Chronicle said “yes.” Witnesses who called into the Bob Lonsberry show said “yes.” But an RPD spokesman told City Newspaper “no.” I think this centers on how you interpret the word “involve.” If 200 kids left school to walk down Main Street to watch people fighting, they’re involved even if they didn’t throw any punches.

– I’m emceeing a conference about entrepreneurship on Wednesday at MCC. I hope to blog about the experience at some point during the day.

City of Rochester Communications Bureau

Links of the Day: 

– So, you think Rochester’s not innovative? The Democrat and Chronicle’s Sean Lahman thoroughly deconstructs the ridiculous Wall Street Journal column claiming Rochester killed Kodak. He crunched the numbers on how many patents are obtained by local scientists:

Take Xerox Corp., for example. The company received 880 new patents last year, which ranked it 11th among all companies based in the United States. That’s more than many of the companies we think of as being hotbeds of innovation, like Apple, Texas Instruments or General Electric.

– On this Martin Luther King Day, grim statistics about African American incarceration.

– President Obama’s plans for high speed rail are slowing down.

– Buffalo is enjoying figuring out how to spend a billion dollars to lure businesses. Go for the “big one” or do some “economic gardening?”

More Links of the Day:

– The Academy Awards are in talks with the 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter:

The downtown venue is offering a lease comparable to what the Academy currently pays CIM Group, owner of the 3,400-seat Kodak, but with a perks package that includes more seats, better infrastructure, greater promotional opportunities and more ancillary facilities for parties and press.

<snip>

Kodak is expected to file bankruptcy soon, or at the very least be reorganized in a way that may make it unlikely they will continue its $4 million a year commitment for another decade.

– Kodak’s UK pension fund may figure big into any reorganization, Reuters reports:

Kodak’s ties to the UK began in the 1800s and continued in the 1900s. Whole communities were built around the plants, similar to its hometown of Rochester.

<snip>

Kodak’s overseas pension and benefit obligations have been underfunded for most of the past decade, its annual reports for that time period show.

The company has employee pension plans in France, for instance, but the UK Pension Regulator is unique in that it has aggressive legal authority to pursue funding claims abroad.

– Kodak’s lawsuits against Apple and HTC may be a move to increase the value of its trove of digital imaging patents, Bloomberg reports.

– In 2011, Xerox ranked 28th in the number of patents granted.

– Xerox CEO Ursula Burns decried the state of higher education in the U.S.