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Iconic Kodak files for bankruptcy

Jan. 19, 2012 at 2:05 PM   |   Comments

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. corporate icon Eastman Kodak said Thursday it is the latest victim of a digital juggernaut that has put traditional media on high alert.

Kodak, once a blue-chip corporation that symbolized slick, smart and smooth in product delivery, has been struggling to keep up with the digital age.

The firm is attempting to generate interest in about 1,100 patents for a digital world it helped to create but could not turn to its advantage, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Kodak is not alone. Industry giants that have been struggling to keep up with technological changes have also been battered by a struggling economy.

Stalwart newspapers firms and national magazine brands are desperate to keep their readers and their advertisers from breaking ranks and running to the Internet. Content creators, such as movie studios, publishing houses and music companies, are wondering how to generate profits in industries that are no longer so easy to control. Bookselling retailer Borders went under in 2011 with many analysts pointing to the firm's lack of a blockbuster digital reader that could appeal to consumers in an increasingly gadget-dependent world.

All of this thanks to the microchip.

"Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation," Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez said in a statement.

The firm has secured a $950 million line of credit from Citigroup to keep operations going while it restructures its debt. But the long-term question remains: What is next for a firm that chopped 47,000 jobs from its payroll, closed 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs since 2003 and is now trying to sell its treasure trove of irreplaceable patents?

Kodak, begun 131 years ago by George Eastman, the inventor of roll-film, is now trying to reinvent itself as an inkjet printer company. But the company has not turned in an annual profit since 2004, the Times said.

In a statement, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman said, "The news that Eastman Kodak is filing for bankruptcy reorganization is deeply saddening for Rochester. Kodak has been a vital part of our community for 130 years."

"Everyone in Rochester will reflect on this sobering news with a sense of gratitude for what Eastman Kodak has meant to our city; for George Eastman's visionary technology; for Eastman's generosity to our city and wider community," Seligman said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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