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Kodak to end its digital camera business

By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — Eastman Kodak, the company that invented the digital camera in 1975, is shutting down its digital camera business.

Kodak, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, announced on Thursday that it would stop making digital photo cameras, as well as pocket-size video cameras and digital photo frames.

The Rochester, N.Y.-based company, which was a pioneer in bringing photography to consumers worldwide since its founding in 1880, said it’s working with retailers to phase out those products by summer.

From there, Kodak will look to license its brand name to other device makers as a part of an ongoing review to make the struggling company more profitable and free of its bankruptcy.

Kodak’s once-hugely successful operations have suffered drastically as the world has turned to digital photography and away from film, and to cellphones with built-in cameras and away from point-and-shoots.

All Kodak will have left in its consumer lineup once the phase-out is completed will be inkjet printers and photo printing technology found in malls, kiosks, pharmacies and film-developing businesses, as well as online.

The company “expects to achieve annual operating savings of more than $100 million,” Kodak said in a statement. The company said it would also take on a one-time charge of about $30 million “resulting from the exit of the business.”

Remaining in place will be Kodak’s commercial businesses segments, which “now comprise approximately three-fourths of total revenues.”

Kodak said that while it won’t be making cameras anymore, it believed it still had a “strong position in the personal imaging market.”

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