The digital era has finally brought the symbol of traditional film photography to its knees: Kodak has filed for bankruptcy protection. Early Thursday morning, Eastman Kodak Company and its U.S. subsidiaries announced that it filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
The company has also obtained a $950 million, 18-month debtor-in-possession credit facility from Citigroup to keep it running. Kodak believes it has enough liquidity to continue operating its business during chapter 11, and to continue the flow of goods and services to its consumers, as well as pay employee wages and benefits.
"Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation," Kodak CEO Antonio Perez said in a statement. "After considering the advantages of chapter 11 at this time, the Board of Directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak."
This move is no surprise--just a couple of weeks ago, we heard rumors that Kodak was dangerously close to bankruptcy, and now it looks like those rumors are true. The 131-year-old film company was the pioneer of the modern-day handheld film camera, and was at one point so dominant in the film industry that the phrase "Kodak moment" came to refer to a moment that just had to be recorded.
Unfortunately, Kodak, which at one point had over 90 percent of the market share of film sales in the United States, has been struggling since the introduction of digital cameras--a product Kodak invented in 1975.
Though Kodak has tried to keep up with the digital age (the company just introduced two sub-$200 digital cameras at CES 2012), it has recently moved toward inkjet printers. The company has also been filing patent infringement suits against competitors, including Apple and Samsung, in an attempt to increase the value of its 1,100 patents--which it has been trying to sell.