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A Kodak moment: the CCD camera pioneer and his invention
Old 08-31-2015   #1
Richard G
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A Kodak moment: the CCD camera pioneer and his invention

Here's a nice article on a young Kodak employee left to see whether there might be anything of use that could come of a CCD back in the early 1970s.

http://www.brw.com.au/p/tech-gadgets...FXYwagdCRzszeP
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Old 08-31-2015   #2
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What would you do as a Kodak exec.? If you had the foresight, you could see potential for the new technology. But film, paper and chemicals are your bread and butter. Maybe patent it and continue development in secret until it looks like a competitor is about to release a product, then spring yours? In the mean time, make the most out of film while you can.
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Old 08-31-2015   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXForester View Post
What would you do as a Kodak exec.? If you had the foresight, you could see potential for the new technology. But film, paper and chemicals are your bread and butter. Maybe patent it and continue development in secret until it looks like a competitor is about to release a product, then spring yours? In the mean time, make the most out of film while you can.
It sounds like the marketing executives were scared by the presentation they had, fearing the end of film. They probably should have used all the money they had at the time to fund further R&D, like successful companies do.
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Old 08-31-2015   #4
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The whole thing would have to be one of the biggest stuff ups ever.

"They" broke Kodak with one stupid decision.

Stories like this remind me of the Japanese wisdom of "team management" of their companies.
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Old 08-31-2015   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc_rufctr View Post
The whole thing would have to be one of the biggest stuff ups ever.

"They" broke Kodak with one stupid decision.

Stories like this remind me of the Japanese wisdom of "team management" of their companies.
Lots of companies that did this and worse. MEC was filled with folks who were more concerned about their jobs than the future. Companies often loose sight of what makes them great. Wang, GM, Kodak, we got examples by the dozens.

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Old 08-31-2015   #6
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Kodak was doomed when they put travelling salesmen in charge of the company instead of engineers. Carl Kohrt might have saved the company, but they gave too much power (= any power at all) to Fisher and Carp. The nobodies they have had since deciding not to make him CEO have always been lacking in any informed vision whatsoever.

Steve Sasson was another engineer, i.e. he had quite a lot of ideas about what he was doing.

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Old 09-01-2015   #7
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Wow what a story, it is a bit sad, if Kodak did embrace the digital camera early
who know where they would be now maybe one of the company's at the
forefront who know.
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Old 09-01-2015   #8
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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Didn't Leica develop an AF system then sold the design to Minolta or someone?

Hey! Who needs digital image capture or AF ... that sort of technology would never catch on!
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Old 09-01-2015   #9
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Sad thing is almost every large company I the US today has changed to being led by financial types.

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Old 09-02-2015   #10
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If Kodak had been the first to get into digital, the other firms now in digital would have caught up to Kodak quickly because the camera is all electronics (plus a lens). But no one else could easily get into making film on the scale that Kodak did. So Kodak's advantage in digital would have been short-lived.

There's just not much you can do when your core technology becomes obsolete.
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Old 09-02-2015   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwoenv View Post
If Kodak had been the first to get into digital, the other firms now in digital would have caught up to Kodak quickly because the camera is all electronics (plus a lens). But no one else could easily get into making film on the scale that Kodak did. So Kodak's advantage in digital would have been short-lived.

There's just not much you can do when your core technology becomes obsolete.
Really? Why? Why should digital technology have not swiftly become the "core technology" of the inventors?

As maths and physics papers used to say, "Show your working".

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Old 09-03-2015   #12
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Sure it could have swiftly become the core technology of Kodak but the advantage would have been short-lived as others could jump in swiftly as well - purchase a sensor and lens from others and building the electronics around them is not difficult. That's why we saw the crowded field of firms, not previously in cameras (e.g., Samsung), selling point and shoot digital cameras.

On the other hand, developing good film emulsion formulations, more of an art, and catching up with Kodak and Fuji would not be as easy. And after that, it's just a coating operation but few firms got into film and none on the scale to challenge Kodak and Fuji.

So Kodak's decision to dominate via film as long as possible was not unreasonable.

All just my opinion of course, so I can't show my working.
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Old 09-03-2015   #13
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It is equally plausible that Kodak would have had such an enormous headstart and owned the patents for the digital equipment so that no other company could have competed with Kodak. It may have been the worst ever business decision made by Kodak. Fuji would have been the (sole) main film producer, unless Kodak would have dominated both (film & digital). It would have been a yellow-box kingdom.
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Old 09-03-2015   #14
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Even with a little foresight, the execs may have made the same decision. You can't always count on those at the top to care about the future when a dollar can go in their pockets today. From their point of view, film is money in the bank. Digital is something that will need R&D, cost money, and you can't predict when it will be "good enough" and affordable enough to sell to the masses. In hindsight we know that once it took off, it progressed rapidly.
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