Key events in the history of Eastman Kodak Co.
Kodak postpones an auction of its imaging patent portfolios, though negotiations continue as it looks to sell the patents as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy protection. Here are key events in the history of Eastman Kodak Co.:
1880 — George Eastman begins commercial production of dry plates for photography in a rented loft of a building in Rochester, N.Y.
1888 — The name "Kodak" is born and the Kodak camera is marketed with the slogan, "You press the button, we do the rest."
1889 — The Eastman Co. is formed, taking over the assets of the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co.
1892 — The company becomes Eastman Kodak Company of New York.
1900 — The first Brownie camera is introduced. Selling for $1 and using film that costs 15 cents a roll, it brings hobby photography within financial reach.
1929 — The company introduces its first motion picture film.
1935 — Kodachrome film is introduced and becomes the first commercially successful amateur color film.
1951 — The low-priced Brownie 8mm movie camera is introduced, followed by Brownie movie projector in 1952.
1962 — The company's U.S. consolidated sales exceed $1 billion for the first time. Its work force tops 75,000.
1963 — Kodak introduces a line of easy-to-use Instamatic cameras with cartridge-loading film (selling more than 50 million by 1970).
1972 — Five pocket-size Instamatic cameras that use smaller cartridges are launched. More than 25 million cameras sell in less than three years.
1975 — Kodak invents the world's first digital camera. The toaster-size prototype captures black-and-white images at a resolution of 10,000 pixels (.01 megapixels).
1981 — Company sales surpass the $10 billion revenue mark. The next year, hometown payroll peaks at 60,400.
1984 — Kodak enters the video market with the Kodavision Series 2000 8mm video system and introduces Kodak videotape cassettes in 8mm, Beta and VHS formats, along with a line of floppy disks for computers.
1988 — Global payroll peaks at 145,300.
1992 — Kodak launches a writeable CD that its first customer, MCI, used for producing telephone bills for corporate accounts.
2003 — Launch of Kodak Easyshare printer dock 6000, which produces durable, borderless 4-by-6-inch prints.
2004 — Kodak begins digital makeover, the same year it gets ejected from the 30-stock Dow Jones industrial average. It cuts tens of thousands of jobs as it closes factories and changes businesses.
2008 — Kodak begins mining its patent portfolio, which generates nearly $2 billion in fees over three years.
2010 — Kodak sues Apple Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. before the U.S. International Trade Commission, claiming the smartphone makers are infringing its 2001 patent for technology that lets a camera preview low-resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at higher resolutions. Global employment falls to 18,800.
July 20, 2011 — Kodak begins shopping around its 1,100 digital-imaging patents.
Sept. 27 — Moody's Investors Services downgrades all of its debt ratings for Kodak, citing ongoing weakness in the company's core business operations and the likelihood that flagging demand will hamper results indefinitely.
Oct. 3 — Kodak confirms it has hires Jones Day, a law firm that lists bankruptcies and restructuring among its specialties.
Oct. 16 — Kodak says Imax Co is licensing thousands of patents covering laser projection technology, giving Kodak millions of dollars in revenue. The Kodak patents will allow Imax to provide high-quality digital content for theater screens larger than 80 feet and domed theaters for the first time. Screens that large had previously been limited to film content.
Dec. 19 — Judge extends Apple camera-patent dispute into 2012.
Dec. 22 — Kodak says it has agreed to sell its gelatin business as it looks to boost its dwindling cash reserves. The product is used in photographic and printing processes as well as in food, pharmaceuticals.
Jan. 10, 2012 — Kodak announces plans to realign and simplify its business to cut costs, accelerate its digital transformation and boost its share price. The new structure has two business units — commercial and consumer — instead of three — traditional film and photo paper products; consumer digital imaging and graphic communications, which included printing equipment.
Jan. 19 — Kodak files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it seeks to boost its cash position and stay in business.
Feb. 9 — Kodak says it will stop making digital cameras, pocket video cameras and digital picture frames.
Feb. 15 — Kodak receives court approval to end its sponsorship deal with the Hollywood theater that is the venue for the Academy Awards. Kodak had signed a $74 million deal for naming rights to the theater in 2000. During the Feb. 26 Oscars ceremony, host Billy Crystal jokingly refers to the venue as "the beautiful Chapter 11 Theater."
March 1 — Kodak says it plans to sell its online photo service business to online photo publishing company Shutterfly Inc. for $23.8 million.
April 27 — Kodak says its first-quarter loss widened on a drop in sales and hefty charges related to its reorganization. Revenue fell 27 percent to $965 million, partially as a result of the company's decision to stop selling digital cameras and focus on its other businesses.
April 30 — Kodak lawyers tell a bankruptcy judge that turnover has become a serious problem. The company was granted approval to pay up to $13.5 million in bonuses to persuade key managers to stay on.
May 1 — Audio technology company Dolby Laboratories Inc. gets naming rights to the Oscars venue after Kodak ends a deal early. Bankruptcy judge issues order approving sale of online photo business to Shutterfly.
May 3 — Kodak says Pradeep Jotwani is resigning as the president of consumer business and chief marketing officer. No reason was given.
July 2 — Kodak shuts down Kodak Gallery, North American accounts go to Shutterfly. Judge rules that Kodak can proceed with auctioning some 1,100 digital imaging patents, about 10 percent of the company's portfolio.
Aug. 23 — Kodak says it will sell its document imaging and personalized imaging businesses to better focus on printing and business services. The company says the sale of the units, along with cost-cutting measures and the auction of its patent portfolio, will help it emerge from bankruptcy sometime in 2013. Kodak's document imaging division makes scanners and offers related software and services. The personalized imaging business includes photo paper and still camera film products. It also offers souvenir photo products at theme parks and other venues.
Sept. 10 — Kodak says it is reshuffling executives and cutting thousands of jobs. Kodak says it cut about 2,700 employees worldwide since the beginning of the year and plans to cut about 1,000 more by the end of 2012. The company says annual savings from the cuts should reach about $330 million.
Friday — Kodak postpones indefinitely an auction of its imaging patent portfolios, even as negotiations with potential buyers continue. Kodak also says an alternative option is to keep the patents and create a company to make money by licensing the technology.
Source: Kodak, Associated Press research