The Kodak - Fuji Rivalry|Business Strategy|Case Study|Case Studies

The Kodak - Fuji Rivalry

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR037
Case Length : 10 Pages
Period : 1998 - 2002
Organization : Eastman Kodak Company, Fuji Photo Film
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Photo films

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

George Eastman founded the Eastman Kodak Company (Kodak) in Waterville, New York. Due to the untimely demise of his father, Eastman discontinued his education at the age of 13. Being interested in photography, he soon learned to make pictures.

Eastman realized that the existing photography methods were too cumbersome and complicated and did not appeal to the common man. In the wet plate process, which existed in those days, the photographic images were made on heavy, fragile glass plates that were inserted into the back of the camera. These plates had to be coated with a wet emulsion just before each picture was taken and the development could be done only in complete darkness. Overall, it took more than 20 minutes to take one photograph. Eastman pioneered the development of the dry plate process and filed his first patent in 1879 related to a gadget that prepared dry gelatin plates. With the money raised from selling patents and some financial support from his close associate, Henry Strong, Eastman formally entered the photography business.

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By the end of 1882, the company had generated enough revenues to afford a new factory in Tennessee to produce a steady supply of materials for making films. By 1884, Eastman came up with a simple replacement for glass photographic plates, a roll of film. At this point, Strong and Eastman established the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company in Rochester, New York.

In 1887, Eastman turned his attention to manufacturing cameras. Eastman also expanded the company's operations overseas by setting up the Eastman Photographic Materials Company Limited in London in 1889. Through this outlet, products manufactured in the US were distributed to Europe, the Far East, and Australia. The company settled on the name Eastman Kodak Company in 1892. In the mid-1890s, Eastman decided to set up company-owned distribution outlets, to be run and operated as separate companies. All the companies had the name Kodak and they sold Kodak products, both to the general public as well as to other businesses and professionals. In the next couple of decades, Kodak introduced several innovative products and focused on expanding its operations to other overseas countries...

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