Page | 3
The case starts with the premise of how Kodak came to be synonymous with photography in the late
19th century and grew to be an industry stalwart over the course of the first half of the 20th century
in the United States. Being a technologically advanced company that placed customer needs first,
backed with a strong emphasis on advertising, low-cost mass production and continuous innovation,
Kodak decimated most of its competition during the imaging revolution in the early 1900s.
Investing heavily early-on in research, the company introduces superior color film technology in the
1960s after 4 decades of research. The corporation’s competition was blindsided by the advent of
Kodak’s consistently reproducible new product offerings and scrambled to launch products that
could compete in the new market. This prescience on Kodak’s part bolstered the company to
monopolize the imaging industry, unchallenged.
Fast forwarding to 1980s, Kodak is faced with a changing landscape within the imaging industry. The
case clearly illustrates how the culture of a company plays a crucial role in either its continued
dominance or pitiful downfall. Over the course of 90 years, the company has transformed from a
consumer-focused, technologically advanced enterprise to one that solely cares about the bottom
line. Despite spending billions on research, Kodak ignores its competitors’ advancements, its internal
technological innovations, and especially analyses of declining film sales and reducing market shares.
The company continues to revel in its past glory and is so steeped in its razor-blade business model
that it refuses to acknowledge it may be “missing the boat”.
The case discusses Kodak’s attempt to navigate the choppy waters of the changing landscape as it
struggles with an identity crisis, and its efforts to maintain its position as a pioneer within an
increasingly competitive industry.
Page | 4
1. Evaluate Kodak’s strategy in traditional photography. Why has the company been so
successful throughout the history of the industry?
● George Eastman developed and the patented the dry plates photographic plates, which
were far superior and convenient to use than the traditional, cumbersome wet plate
technology. Mr. Eastman eventually developed the transparent film roll as we have come to