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Businessweek Archives

Kodak Is Focused, All Right, But It's A Wide Focus

Readers Report


Geoffrey Smith's article "Kodak's focus may be too narrow" (News: Analysis & Commentary, Nov. 24) misses the key thrust of our digital-imaging strategy. Smith correctly points out that we intend to intensify our focus with our digital strategy to leverage our huge retail presence. At Kodak, we believe that consumers will want to participate in digital imaging regardless of their choice of camera or technology--conventional film or digital. We have a huge opportunity to provide consumers with an array of digital scanning and printing services through our network of kiosks, in partnership with our retailers.

At the same time, Smith misses our commitment to digital photography and digital cameras. This is a significant oversight, as we are among the top suppliers of digital cameras in the market. We offer one of the widest arrays of products in the industry, and we hold market-share leadership positions in the U.S. and Europe, especially in segments that demand high image quality.

We acknowledged that we need to focus our efforts to improve our profitability in this segment, but we clearly stated that Kodak intends to remain an industry leader. Some of our 1998 product announcements will reinforce this commitment. And, we said, we may enhance our position by partnering with other leaders to gain scale.

These two aspects of our strategy are not mutually exclusive, as your article implies. We believe the combination will play to Kodak's strengths in a highly competitive marketplace.

Willy Shih


Digital & Applied Imaging

Eastman Kodak Co.

Rochester, N.Y.Return to top


In "What the free market can't fix" (Economic Viewpoint, Nov. 17), Robert Kuttner raises viable points about the economic, environmental, and regulatory problems created by globalization. Moreover, Kuttner points out that these problems have created a difficult task for the federal government to address.

Kuttner, however, indicates that the solution to these problems is an increase in the quantity, rather than the quality, of bureaucratic regulation. He states that "globalization demands more statecraft, not more market" and rails against "magical incantations about the genius of laissez-faire." Kuttner suggests that our highly interconnected and interdependent world economy justifies further government bureaucracy. Since Jean-Baptiste Colbert's development of the mercantilist system during the reign of Louis XIV, proponents of bureaucratic solutions have always used the circumstances of the time to legitimize economic interference.

There are most definitely implicit problems with the marketplace, because it is not constrained or limited by normative issues. But the market does provide the greatest amount of wealth to the greatest number of people with the greatest level of efficiency.

The best way to solve the problems associated with economic globalization is not to give the government the unchecked ability to expand its regulatory and bureaucratic powers. If Americans rely on bureaucratic solutions, we will cripple the market's ability to solve the problems that it does address effectively. These problems include price regulation, matching fluctuations in supply and demand, the elimination of unacceptable products, and the disposal of incompetent firms.

David J. Hamrick

Stetson University

DeLand, Fla.Return to top

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