From Dec 31 last year to Nov 23 this year, the day before the Thanksgiving holiday, Kodak’s share price tumbled 78.5% to US$1.15 (RM3.70) a share – a precipitous fall from its all-time high of US$94.75 on Feb 14, 1997. Kodak’s stunning decline is a cautionary tale that Malaysia’s corporate chieftains and policy makers would do well to study.
First, unlike Apple, early dominance in cameras and film technology made Kodak complacent. "You press the button, we do the rest" was the phrase Eastman immortalised.
Second, Kodak was slow to recognise the impact of digital photography.
Third, Kodak announced recently it will sell 1,100 digital imaging patents – about 10% of its patent portfolio - the need to generate long-term sustainable profits.
inkjets are threatened by electronic copies on tablets and smartphones.
According to the Association of Natural Rubber Producing countries, this year Thailand is expected to produce 3.35 million tonnes while the comparable figure for Malaysia is estimated at 975,000 tonnes. With Malaysia’s current output just 29% that of Thailand and with rubber planting requiring even more labour than oil palm, this policy objective, if true, is surreal.
As Kodak has shown, continuing to rely on a buggy whip business isn’t likely to reinvigorate Malaysia’s economy.
Kodak: A cautionary tale