Why Kodak declined and Fujifilm didn’t

It’s been said that no-one can succeed in business unless they understand what business they’re in.

A business writer named Oliver Kmia says that the reason Eastman Kodak failed and Fujifilm succeeded is that Fuji’s executives understood what business they were in and Kodak’s didn’t.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Kodak was the world leader in making photographic film  and paper and Fuji was its chief competitor.  Executives of both companies foresaw that this business would be threatened by the rise of digital photography.

Kodak’s executives defined Kodak’s business by its market—imaging.  They attempted to transition to digital photography, in which they actually gained a decent market share, but were unable to make a profit.

Fuji’s executives defined Fuji’s business by its capabilities—chemistry, especially coatings.  They transitioned to other businesses in which they could use these capabilities.  One was coatings for LCDs (liquid crystal displays) essential for TVs, computers and smartphones.  Others included pharmaceuticals and even cosmetics.

There’s lesson here, both for corporations and for planners of national economic policy.

LINK

Why Kodak Died and Fujifilm Thrived: A Tale of Two Film Companies by Oliver Kmia for PetaPixel.

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