Kodak Files for Bankruptcy

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 19 2012 8:08 AM

Kodak Files for Bankruptcy

People visiting the Kodak display at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nev.


Eastman Kodak, once one of the United States' great pioneering high-tech firms, filed for bankruptcy today, after it proved impossible to roll over some outstanding debt. The company's problems are pretty straightforward: These guys were the market leaders in analog film, but the market for analog film has been steeply declining thanks to the rise of digital technology. Naturally, Kodak's executives haven't been blind to this fact and have tried to move into the digitial-imaging space, but it's just extremely difficult for a firm that was built to be the dominant player in one industry to shift into a whole different one. Citigroup will be providing financing for Kodak to keep operating during bankruptcy. The main value of the company, at this point, is thought to be its portfolio of patents, some of which are potentially very lucrative in America's increasingly nutty thicket of patent litigation.

The New York Times did an interesting piece earlier this week about the city of Rochester, N.Y., which in many ways is a town Kodak built. The decline of Rochester's iconic firm has been bad for the city, but the takeaway from the article is that most of that harm has already happened. Kodak's workforce is much smaller than it once was, and Rochester has substantially reinvented itself over the past 10-15 years; you can see in the latest Brookings Metro Monitor report (PDF) that over the past year, Rochester's been one of the most successful cities in North America.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?


“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.


The Right to Run

If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 22 2014 6:30 PM The Tragedies That Have Shaped Canada's Gun Politics
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 3:06 PM Writer William Giraldi Wishes Everyone Would Please Stop Likening Him to a Literary Genius
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 2:59 PM Netizen Report: Twitter Users Under Fire in Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.