In 1997, the stock market valued the company at over $30 billion. Today Kodak is worth only $265 million.
Kodak also invested extensively in research and development. In fact, the first electronic camera using a charge-coupled device was invented by a Kodak engineer named Steven Sasson in 1975, and Kodak in many ways led early development in digital photography. The company introduced the first megapixel sensor in 1986, and the QuickTake camera launched by Apple in 1994 had to a large extent been developed by Kodak. It looked like a pair of binoculars, stored 32 photos, and could be connected to a personal computer.
But the limited performance and the high price tag of such cameras (the QuickTake cost about $800 and a high-end digital news camera ran $15,000) meant that the market for digital photography was very small, almost insignificant for a multibillion-dollar company like Kodak.
It's easy to think that Kodak was disrupted by cheap digital cameras. This is less than a half-truth. If there were no web and Facebook (social networking), we would still be printing pictures using Kodak paper and Kodak chemical processes. And, because we'd be taking a lot more pictures, there would be more money for the company than ever before.
The real company that destroyed Kodak was Facebook, not Nikon, Canon, Olympus, and others.
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