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Best of Both Worlds? - Bill Gates Now Owns 5.2% of Eastman Kodak Co.


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#1 K Borowski

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 05:22 PM

http://www.bloomberg...6...xY&refer=us

"Cascade Investment LLC, owned by Gates, bought 7.95 million shares in Kodak, raising his stake in the company to 5.2 percent, Rochester, New York-based Kodak said in a regulatory filing today. The investment would make Gates the fourth-largest shareholder in Kodak as of Dec. 31, according to Bloomberg data."

Seriously, though, how is this for a hybrid system?

I remember reading something about Apple and RED. Maybe Apple or Steve Jobs will buy 5.2% of Fuji if he's still alive?

Or maybe it's just a showdown between RED and EK.

Just as long as he doesn't turn into Polaroid management, I don't mind this, except for the reservations I have about Gates, Microsoft (think "Pirates of Silicon Valley"), and charity in general. Seems like he's been a good boy instead of your typical geek when it comes to his ownership of a sizeable chunk of the Corbis negative archive; your typical hacker would scan and pitch!

IDK though. I've always been a Mac guy. So I have all kinds of mixed signals here. Maybe I should buy a PC? Or trade my car in towards a RED?
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#2 Jim Keller

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 06:29 PM

The Kodak digital imaging engineers are some of the best on the planet, and yet have had their hands tied for the past decade or so by upper management that wouldn't know a good business move if it bludgeoned them over the head, handed them its passport, and called the cops on itself.

Hopefully Gates can see Kodak's potential and prevail on them to embrace the future to grow the company by embracing new technology, thereby putting it on a secure footing to keep its film division going for what film is good for, as opposed to just driving the whole company bust because of management idiocy.

Just my opinion, of course...
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#3 K Borowski

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 12:57 PM

Hopefully Gates can see Kodak's potential and prevail on them to embrace the future to grow the company by embracing new technology, thereby putting it on a secure footing to keep its film division going for what film is good for, as opposed to just driving the whole company bust because of management idiocy.

Just my opinion, of course...


I honestly don't see how Kodak can do any innovating on the digital front at this point. They haven't made a professional digital camera in 4 years now. I think they still make chips?

Now they are trying to "license" their patents on technology. Hardly trend-setting.

The only thing that I see as viable for this company at this point IS film.

Cheap ink-jet printers and other trinkets with low profit margins just aren't cutting it on the tech end.

I don't know what they were thinking getting out of processing and photo-finishing, out of chemicals, or out of X-ray. I forget what Eastman Chemical's exact numbers are but they are/were having record sales last I checked. I think X-ray is still quite viable too.

Antonio Perez has his head up his ass. I don't know what they were thinking having an ink-jet jockey run the company. I guess it's not really surprising that he'd introduce this "novel" solution of cheap ink-jet printing after all.
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#4 Simon Wyss

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 01:27 PM

What do you expect? The company began with a bank clerk (G. Eastman). Simply from time to time bankers listen to those who know physics or chemistry.
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#5 Sam Wells

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 09:37 PM

I think they still make chips?


as I said on another thread, CCD chips for 50MP Hasselblad/Imacon; Leica M8; new Leica S2

-Sam
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#6 Jim Keller

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 06:42 PM

I think X-ray is still quite viable too.


Kodak's problem with X-ray is the same as its problem with film. There's been a digital revolution. X-rays are now being taken to a chip instead of a piece of film, and displayed and shared electronically instead of on a light box. And instead of banking on their market dominance to lead the revolution, Kodak stuck its head in the sand and tried to pretend it wasn't happening. That is the attitude that has to change if they're going to survive.
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#7 Serge Teulon

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 06:57 PM

Maybe he'll improve film marketing.
The wow factor at every show that I've been to in the last 2-3 years has been in the digital stands. Whilst kodak and fuji's stands still look and have the same energy.....it kinda feels like they've just thought "well, we'll hang in there, making a few more $£'s, until this whole digital phenomenon takes over"

Not that the digital wow has made me embrace the digital more but then if I was starting out I might be more inclined and susceptible to be taken by the current digital wow factor.......at the end of the day the newcomers of today will shape our industry tomorrow.
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#8 John Sprung

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:57 PM

Kodak's problem with X-ray is the same as its problem with film. There's been a digital revolution. X-rays are now being taken to a chip instead of a piece of film, and displayed and shared electronically instead of on a light box.


Very true, I just had a bunch done a couple weeks ago. This is especially a good thing for emergency rooms, you get answers much faster. Conventional film X-ray is still used by individual doctors in their offices -- mine does.

BTW, the original post says that Gates at 5.2% is the fourth largest Kodak shareholder. I wonder who the big three are.






-- J.S.
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#9 Chris Durham

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 11:03 AM

Aren't the sensors in the Ikonoskop dII Kodak-made?

Kodak needs to step things up for sure, because the only way to preserve film is for them to stay at the front of the digital curve.
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#10 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 11:32 AM

The CCD chips for Hasselblad, Leica M8 and S2 are an absolute niche market. Leica already almost went down 2 years ago.
With their sensors it's almost like with film: even if it's technologically ahead now it can't compete in the longer run as things progress so fast.
How can they compete with Canon or Nikon? They have massive marketing power and greater experience in digital sensor- and image processing technology. I'd hate to see film vanish, but it already is niche market and that's why costs are gonna explode for stocks, processing and service. Sad but true.
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#11 Dominic Case

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 09:06 PM

People complain that Kodak is getting left behind with film, and needs to get its digital act together. Those people only seem to look at Kodak's photochemical products- which really begs the question.

As others have pointed out, Kodak owns more digital imaging patents than any other company. They have been at the front of replacing their massive retail consumer photographic business with a retain consumer digital business: they can't sell negative stills stock any more, but instead of surrendering the market to people's home computers, we see a massive business in digital photoprinting booths, digital photo paper, etc. What they aren't very good at doing is marketing anything other than film, so they seem to be basing their digital business in designing bits for other makers.

Kodak sold its MI(Medical Imaging) business a while back I think. They could have picked up all of that X-ray chip, live monitoring of X-rays, ultrasounds, endoscopy etc, but they're out of it.
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