January 20, 2012
Iconic Kodak product may fade to hobbyists
Eastman Kodak's filing for bankruptancy yesterday signaled a transformation for an iconic inventor. The leader in film for more than 100 years, Kodak faces a new future this morning, one that will be tied to printing success. The company's been given until February 2013 to produce a reorganization plan, and it will try to get the sale of $2 billion in imaging patents approved by June 30. But Kodak's breakthrough of film won't go away, not any more than an MPE/iX environment will disappear. For Kodak, the expectation is that film imaging will retreat to hobbyist and enthusiast markets.
Like MPE/iX, film photos will become the standard by which successors are judged. And what's possible is the same fate of vinyl recordings: a modest renaissance as lifelong digital picture-takers consider the advantages of older technology. The same thing will be happening to paper books in the future. Companies without a plan for these newer complimentary technologies will suffer. Most of the 3000's customers are using at least a Windows server somewhere in their enterprise.
Kodak's inventions in film and imaging have become its last stronghold, a redoubt the company fell upon while trying to sell off its patent portfolio. The stock was pounded again today, shares which were de-listed from the NYSE in a stunning reversal for a company of its age and reputation. But that reputation is what's likely to leave Kodak's products in a spot where they'll survive well. A later-era entry like the company's pocket video cameras (above) which included novel features like mic inputs might have the same kind of aftermarket that the 3000 has enjoyed. When you build it well to start, the value remains even after the vendor has fled.As an example of one beloved product's aftermarket, consider the Stereo Realist community. These are the acolytes of stereo photography, the technology that rose in the '50s and '60s until prints took over for slide film. These days you'd call it 3D, but that was not the term my father used when he'd show off his stereo slides on the projector in our basement.
But the old portable stereo slide viewers remain in great demand. A product that was sold for under $50 when it was introduced now sells for $200. Even in constant currency that's a remarkable retention of value.
HP 3000 value, both in hardware and software, is important to your community. Some of the most specialized resources rely on the continued value of this business solution. Unlike Kodak, your happy dovecoat of settled, harmonious owners won't be turning to a highly competitive sales plan. Many suppliers have experienced a stall in growth when making that leap. We'd like to believe in the wake of the Kodak collapse that well-engineered products have a limitless lifespan. The 3000 still has enthusaists who know there's no substitute for the extra dimension of the server.
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