Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2010/12/21

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Kodak digital photo lawsuit
From: lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin)
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2010 18:54:35 -0500

Phillipe writes:

"I would have thought very few (digital) photos have anything to do with
Kodak at all?"

- - - - -

>From Wikipedia:

"The first recorded attempt at building a digital camera was in 1975 by 
Sasson <javascript:searchWiki(%22Steven_Sasson%22,%20%22en%22)>, an engineer
at Eastman Kodak.[11]
used the then-new solid-state CCD image
sensor <javascript:searchWiki(%22Image_sensor%22,%20%22en%22)> chips
developed by Fairchild
[13] <javascript:scrollToAnchor(%22cite_note-12%22)> The camera weighed 8
pounds (3.6 kg), recorded black and white images to a cassette tape, had a
resolution of 0.01 megapixels (10,000 pixels), and took 23 seconds to
capture its first image in December 1975."

Although Kodak invented the first practical digital camera and sold modified
Nikons with digital backs in the late 80s and 90s, they completely
underestimated how rapidly digital photography would replace film
photography. Kodak felt that film, their cash cow, would dominate the market
through through 2000 and never made contingency plans for the demise of
their film operations. They assumed that people would want to see their
pictures as prints even after digital took hold. Despite Kodak's competence
in digital photography, they devoted their marketing efforts to print kiosks
and internet print systems. Hence the broad patent coverage for print

I have several relatives living near Rochester, NY who work as Kodak
executives. At a family gathering, the wife of one asked me if I would like
to see pictures of her children. I agreed, expecting that she would pull out
a stack of prints. Instead she took her digital camera out of her purse and
treated me to a slide show of 50 pictures on the 3" LCD display. Her
husband, a Kodak marketing guru, told me that fewer than one out of ten
digital pictures ever gets printed up.

Kodak lost a big patent suit when the Polaroid company claimed that the
Kodak Instant picture camera infringed on the Land patents. I guess they
want to recover some of the losses by suing Shutterfly and the other print
distributors. I can't say I blame them. Kodak stock has dropped tenfold
since the 80s.

Larry Z (a disgruntled Kodak stockholder)