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Kodak Reinvents Itself As Judge Approves Bankruptcy Exit

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Kodak Reinvents Itself As Judge Approves Bankruptcy Exit

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Kodak Reinvents Itself As Judge Approves Bankruptcy Exit

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And here's some other news in a snapshot. Kodak has gotten permission to emerge from bankruptcy. But as NPR's Laura Sydell reports, the company that once dominated the film and instant photo business is going to look very different.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: For anyone who grew up before digital cameras, saying Kodak moment was shorthand for a sappy home photo. TV was filled with commercials like this one, of families going to weddings and graduations and taking pictures of it.

(SOUNDBITE OF KODAK AD)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Kodak film, for the times of your life.

SYDELL: But Kodak was never able to get an edge in the digital photo business. The home photo market became all about cellphone cameras.

In 2003, Kodak's revenue was over 13 billion. By 2011, it was down to 6 billion. And last year, Kodak declared bankruptcy.

GEORGE CONBOY: It's astonishing that that kind of resonance with consumers could practically evaporate in so brief a time.

SYDELL: George Conboy, an analyst with Brighton Securities, says Kodak was given permission to emerge from bankruptcy with a plan that doesn't really include consumer photos.

CONBOY: What Kodak makes now is equipment that will allow you to print labels that might go on, say, a juice bottle or something like that.

SYDELL: Kodak once employed 65,000 people in Rochester, New York. Its new business will employ about 2,000 people.

The upside, says Conboy, is that the death of the old business took so long that most of its skilled employees were able to find new jobs in the area.

Laura Sydell, NPR News.

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