Kodak was in a difficult moment, it was summer 94 and 30 percent of its film market was slipping away into the hands of Fuji Photo. After 5 restructuring efforts and cutting 40,000 jobs the remaining 90,000 employees were keeping their resumes up to date.
Kodak's own research indicated that digital imaging would continue to grow, chipping away at the film market until 20 years out, an estimated 80 percent of pictures taken worldwide would at least be influenced by digital technology.
Kodak's approach was to position itself as a company that was "in the picture business, not the film business". There were two men to watch in Kodak's future:
a)CEO George M.C. Fisher- had put Motorola back on top, and brought to Rochester the less than reassuring awareness that while Fuji's inroads were a real and immediate problem, the war for the future would be fought against the Sonys, the Hewlett-Packards and the Microsofts.
b)Wayne Neale - Current Director of the customer experience group and product marketing manager of Kodak Picture Playground Online- brought the notion that the Internet would change the ways families shared their lives through written and voice messages, and most important with pictures.
The CEO was struggling to get the company back on track by selling parts of Kodak unrelated to photography, cutting cycle times and trying to capture overseas markets. He had split the photographic business into the traditional chemical image processing and one for digital imaging, and was still wondering what to do about digital photography.
Neale and Terry Lund (now Director of Internet Initiatives) after one unsuccessful try of convincing the CEO about setting up an internet site managed to get their project approved. Today it is a vast corporate resource with 30,000 pages that markets to 16 countries and saves...