After making and selling cameras for over 120 years, the Eastman Kodak Company announced yesterday that it plans to stop producing its "dedicated capture devices" - in other words, its digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and digital picture frames. The company plans on phasing out the products throughout the first half of this year. This news doesn't come as a surprise, as Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just last month, at which time it announced that it would be undergoing a "reorganization" in order to focus on its most valuable business lines.
Those lines, it turns out, will mainly include its retail photo-processing kiosks, digital dry lab systems, and consumer inkjet printers. The company will also be focusing on its online photo-sharing and -processing services, its camera accessories and batteries, and its products for traditional film-based photography, including photographic paper and processing equipment.
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In its announcement yesterday, Kodak noted that the increasing quality of smartphone cameras was creating less of a demand for stand-alone image capture devices.
The company expects to pay approximately US$30 million in separation benefits for employees displaced by the decision, but it also predicts that the change will result in annual operating savings of over $100 million. There is no word on exactly what number of people are expected to lose their jobs.
Warranties on existing Kodak cameras will still be honored, and technical support and service will continue to be provided for them.