Why Is Kodak Going Bust? Blame Rochester

WSJ essayist thinks hometown held back the company
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2012 12:01 PM CST
Why Is Kodak Going Bust? Blame Rochester
Kodak headquarters in Rochester, NY.   (AP Photo/David Duprey, file)

Kodak is on the brink of going belly up, and the prevailing wisdom says that the company missed the boat on digital cameras and smartphones. "Rubbish!" writes Rich Karlgaard, who will after today be persona non grata at the local chamber of commerce, in the Wall Street Journal. He thinks a big part of the reason behind Kodak's struggles is its hometown of Rochester, New York.

"When you study the history of great American companies that stumbled and failed, or only partially recovered, you see how difficult it is to overcome the mindset of your immediate surroundings," he writes. Oof. If Kodak were in, say, Silicon Valley, the company could have been more aggressive with restructuring and layoffs, he argues. "The impact on a small city and the multiplier effect of lost jobs, axed all at once, would have been a civic disaster. Of course, Kodak's slow bleed has turned out to be a civic disaster anyway." Full column here. (More Eastman Kodak stories.)

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