Achieving Many Firsts, What Did Kodak Do Wrong?

Once upon a time, Kodak was one of the first brands that came to mind when photography was mentioned. By 2012, the company filed for bankruptcy and bottomed out. So, what drove the legend of the time to this situation? Let’s take a closer look.

Today to take photos it got pretty easy. We take out our phone and save the image to our phone in the best quality in a few seconds or even a split second. Of course, this was not the case before smartphones, digital cameras were invented.

Years ago photographs are taken on film, was subsequently suppressed. The pioneer of this field was Kodak, which is the subject of our article. But as the years passed, the world started to become more digital and the legend of photography, Kodak, could not keep up with this situation. He literally saw the bottom from the top.

Kodak was a very successful company not only in photography but also in mass communication, marketing and advertising.

In the 1890s, people could easily buy and use the first cameras Kodak made it. It was also one of the most well-known brands worldwide.

However, it turns out that the failure of Kodak in the digital field was not the only reason for its bankruptcy. Yes, it was one of the main reasons that it was late in the digital field, but until this event, many events in the company’s history. breaking point This accelerated the situation even more.

First, let’s take a quick look at these breaking points, namely Kodak’s history.


Founder of Kodak in 1880 George Eastman, started to produce the first dry type photo bathroom equipment. Realizing his success in this business, businessman Henry A. Strong invested in Eastman, and the duo formed a partnership called Eastman Dry Plate Company in 1881.


In 1884, the growing partnership evolved into a new company with 14 shareholders, namely Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company. Eastman developed the first transparent photographic film in 1886. first handheld camera developed.

“You press the button and we’ll take care of the rest” The name of Kodak, which made a rapid entry into the world of photography with its slogan, was also registered in the same year.

George Eastman and Thomas Edison

Company, Edison’s motion picture camera He added success to his success by inventing the transparent film, which had a large share in his work.

first x-ray and kodak

The first known X-ray in history It was filmed in 1895 by Wilhelm Röntgen on Kodak film. Next, Kodak produced film that could quantify radiation, leading to the invention of modern x-rays.

In 1990, the famous Brownie cameras for soldiers were launched, which sold for $1.


Thus, individual photography began to spread.

From here on, we will present the important developments in chronological order in order not to keep the article longer.

  • 1917 – The first cameras to take aerial photographs and unbreakable lenses were developed.
  • 1935 – in an amateur sense first color photographic films was developed.
  • 1959 – Kodak announced that the number of users had exceeded 100 thousand.
  • 1962 – The first astronauts in space took pictures of Earth with Kodak’s cameras. In this way, the company US sales exceed billions of dollars.
  • 1963 – known as Instamatic and cameras that can be changed easily was released to the market. It was announced that about 50 million were sold by the 1970s.
  • 1972 – Instamatic machines small enough to fit in pocket has been made.
  • 1975 – Steve Sasson, who worked as an engineer at Kodak, invented the first digital camera. However, the company did not release the invention, both because it is the world leader in film cameras and because they did not think this technology would go too far.


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While developments were taking place in the field of digital photography, Kodak remained indifferent to this field for years.


After about 10-15 years of silence, Kodak has agreed to conduct research and development in digital photography. investment of nearly five billion dollars made. It has a resolution of 1.4 million pixels, large enough to be used in handheld cameras in 1986. world’s first megapixel photo sensor developed.

By 1996, Interbrand had succeeded Kodak after giants such as Disney, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. fourth most valuable brand in the world was declared.

Things seemed to be going well, but not at all in the background.


In the 1990s and early 2000s, rival companies started to grow even more as it was late for the digitalizing world. In 2004, the company’s sales and profits began to decline. By 2009, the company OLED was sold to LG. The digital camera and printer series called EasyShare was appreciated, but the expected success was not achieved.

As a result, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012.


The main reason why Kodak lived its golden age until the 1990s and experienced a great decline after 1996, as we mentioned above, is the growth of strong companies in the digital photography field and was to develop themselves.

In other words, we can say that Kodak suddenly chose to be upside down as a result of the wrong planning of the future, while it was the first to succeed in the field of digital photography. Although various steps have been taken to remedy the situation, the brand has with a debt of $6.7 billion He filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

The company has significantly reduced its debt today and has many products such as digital printing, printing systems, photographic equipment. continues to stand.


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