Thursday, March 15, 2007

Busy Times at Eastman Kodak Company -- One post, Three stories!

It's been a very busy 2007 for our printing and imaging industry so far, with Kodak (NYSE EK) doing more than its part to keep us feeling always a little bit behind in reporting and analyzing the various developments. So in the mode of catch-up here's a special "Three in One" update.

First, going back to last month's dramatic inkjet photo printer (and all-in-one) announcement (see my February archives for numerous posts), the Kodak EasyShare printers are putatively making their way to market. Techbargains featured the EasyShare 5100 on March 8th at BestBuy, and Robert Mitchell in his Computerworld Blog points out (two days ago in fact) that the Best Buy web site is indicating the Kodak EasyShare 5100 printer as "sold out". (Verified by me today, that's how the site reads.) The Kodak EasyShare 5300 all-in-one is ready to be shipped from the BestBuy warehouse immediately, and the site says "available at most stores". Time for a field trip! (Of course these products for the time being anyway are available exclusively through BestBuy -- not counting the Kodak direct ecommerce site. Seems these exclusives, ala the Staples arrangement with the HP OfficeJet Pro K5400dn color inkjet printer, are becoming popular! And the Kodak blog fairies or at least Animaxent, the agency that sponsors them along with the "inkisit" web site, got me again this week!

Second, on to some activity in the Small Business "do it yourself marketing" area, another one of my favorite developing markets. Kodak announced on Tuesday that they're offering quick turnaround marketing materials in the style of photofinishing services. At first glance this appears at odds with the true DIY mode of doing short-run print jobs on a desktop color laser printer, but actually it might be a good complementary service. This is assuming the focus (as it appears from the website) is on hard-to-finish items like booklets and calendars, leaving the simpler letter-size flyers, for example, to the desktop laser.

And third and last, Kodak has re-structured its organization chart. Now the bulk of the company , everything but the film division, reports to a Chief Operating Office comprised of ex-HP (NYSE HPQ) printer executives Phil Faraci and Jim Langley, who in return report to (also ex-HP) Chairman and CEO Antonio Perez. I don't know if that's classified as a friendly or an unfriendly "takeover", but it's definitely the creation of the ever-popular "two-in-a-box" management structure.

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