The History of Kodak
The Eastman Kodak Company was established in the 1880’s as a film business, set on establishing its brand name in the marketplace through customer-focused advertising and growth through research and development and low cost mass production. The founder, George Eastman, described Kodak’s competitive philosophy by commenting that “nothing is more important than the value of our name and the quality it stands for. We must make quality our fighting argument” (Gavetti, Henderson & Giorgi, 2005).
Kodak’s competitive advantage began in black and white film products, even though the company did produce cameras and camera equipment as well. As the years progressed, Kodak “paid progressively less attention to equipment” and concentrated more on the development of colored film and photo-finishing processes (Gavetti et al, 2005). In the 1960’s, Kodak focused on growth in incremental modifications to photo equipment products, which lead to Kodak’s dominance over 90% of the film market and 85% of the camera market in 1976. Although competitors began to emerge, Kodak was satisfied with its achievement of $10 billion in sales. For much of its history, Kodak had been very successful. Kodak began to expand into other business lines in the 1980s and 1990s, acquiring Clinical Diagnostics, Mass Memory, and Sterling Drug. While Kodak dabbled in other business ventures, the scope of technology had dramatically increased, offering new players a chance at a changing market that no longer needed photographic film. Sony and Fuji were two such competitors that took advantage of this situation, steadily gaining market share in the digital film industry. While Kodak did develop innovative products in the early 1990s...
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...the digital arena. Kodak must also be sure to increase its absorptive knowledge so another such technological change will not compromise a weak value proposition once again.
Gavetti, G., Henderson, R., & Giorgi, S. (2005). Kodak and the digital revolution. Harvard Business School.
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Rothaermel, F. T. (2012). Strategic Management: Concepts and Cases. McGraw-Hill/Irwin, p. 105-106.
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