Kodak used to “own” photography, having a massive share of the film market, end to end.
No more, Kodak is virtually broke, subject to continuous take-over speculation.
The really interesting thing is that one of the assets that makes Kodak valuable to an aggressor is its bank of patents that relate to the technology that drives the product innovation in the digital space.
The failure for Kodak is therefore not in being unable to develop the science, for individuals in the labs to see a different path, and to imagine the next iteration but to do something about it in the marketplace, disrupt themselves before somebody else does it.
Coming in parallel, but I have not seen it really considered before is the fundamental change in the way people think about photography, a complete disruption in behavior that has gone unnoticed.
Photographs used to be used to preserve memories. No more, at least, not much.
They are now used as a foundation piece of the individual communication process.
What are we doing now, who we are seeing, where we are, an expression of ourselves are now the motivations to take a photo on whatever device happens to be in our hand at the time. Creating a record for our kids is a useful by-product of these activities, although I am not sure how the current 20 year old will react to their children in 20 years seeing photos of them pissed at a party 20 years before, so perhaps creating some records will be problematic in the long term.
The photographic market has been totally disrupted, not just by the development of digital technology, but in the way consumers behave. For a marketer, being able to build a corporate mind-set that enables the science, and at the same time embraces the ambiguity and uncertainty of consumer behavior changes is the challenge that keeps life interesting.