It will certainly come as irony as having helped develop and even pioneer digital photography, US firm, Kodak, was unable to cash in on the boom that soon followed, upending almost a century’s worth of business, history and reputation to eventually facing bankruptcy. Kodak’s fortune at the onset of the 21st century was quite healthy and having introduced one of the first digital cameras it seemed that all was well with the company. But as the digital photography trend kicked off and continued to this day, Kodak was unable to respond, losing out on a very lucrative market and after almost a decade sought bankruptcy protection in January of this year, bringing to an end one of the once foremost names in American industry.
Seeking to stay afloat, the company had intended to sell its wealth of patents, more than a thousand of them, at an estimated value of around $2.5 billion. However the latest reports have it that initial bids placed for the patents are far lower than expected, with some of the offers ranging between $150 and $250 million.
This will come as quite a blow to Kodak as at present it faces around $6.8 billion worth of debt against existing assets of $5.1 billion and second quarter results for the company were also dispiriting as the company posted a$299 million net loss.
Of course it remains to be seen just which way the bidding for Kodak’s patents go, as the company itself is reticent on the matter, saying in a statement, "The auction process, including information about bids and the identity of bidders, is confidential pursuant to an order of the Bankruptcy Court. Disclosure of submitted bids or the identity of bidders would violate the court's order and Kodak believes that speculation about the details and potential outcome of the auction is inappropriate."
But some apparent details have surfaced as according to newspapers, The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, rival tech companies, Apple and Google are said to be bidding for Kodak’s patents. According to the papers, Apple is said to be collaborating with patent holding firm, Intellectual Ventures, to secure the patents while Google has partnered up with a rival firm, RPX.
Most of the patents that Kodak has on offer relate to ‘ways to let devices capture, process, edit and transmit images.’ It is expected that the company will announce the successful bidder sometime next week and analysts have said that though the initial bids were lower than expected, it is likely that there will be higher bids soon to come, as the bidders are intent on securing the Kodak patents.