Eastman Kodaku2019s emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection has been approved by a court in the United States.
The firm expects to leave bankruptcy protection status on 3 September.
Kodak CEO Antonio M Perez (pictured) said: ‘Today, the court confirmed Kodak’s Plan of Reorganization. This critically important milestone marks the final step in the court process.’
Though the story made business news headlines today – including a brief, unexpected appearance by AP on Sky News – it is unlikely to have much impact on consumers.
Kodak was there at the start of the digital revolution, having conducted pioneering research at the birth of digital photography.
In 1975, Kodak was famously credited as inventing the first digital camera.
But it was overtaken by rivals and no longer makes its own cameras.
All a far cry from when Kodak brought photography to the masses with the Brownie in 1900 and the Instamatic in the 1960s.
It also invented the first mass-market colour film, Kodachrome, which proved massively popular with photographers worldwide.
It went on to develop the first commercially available digital SLR camera in 1991.
Kodak no longer makes Kodachrome and effectively turned its back on professional photographers and enthusiasts by pulling out of the market for cameras with changeable lenses in 2005, later saying that it couldn’t make a profit from this area, as it didn’t make its own lenses.
Slow to react
Kodak missed the boat. It was slow to see the end of its core market – film – and competition in the digital sector from non-camera brands.
Though it continued to make imaging sensors, it focused on budget-priced compact cameras in an overcrowded market when camera phones were beginning to take over.
Leaving bankruptcy protection is undoubtedly good news for the business – it seems Kodak will now focus on its commercial printing activities.
Kodak’s CEO added: ‘Next, we move on to emergence as a technology leader, serving large and growing commercial imaging markets – such as commercial printing, packaging, functional printing and professional services – with a leaner structure and a stronger balance sheet’.
Film and paper business sell-off
Kodak is in the throes of selling its Personalized Imaging business, which includes photo kiosks, film and photographic paper, to thousands of former Kodak employees.
The firm has decided to stop selling consumer inkjet printers.
Though Kodak’s finances were boosted by selling digital imaging patents, it is unlikely to be the force it once was, as far as the camera-buying public is concerned.
There are also plans for an interchangeable-lens camera in the coming months – though this seems to have been hit by a delay. That is not such good news.