The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

September 4, 2013

AP EXCLUSIVE: Kodak CEO talks company's future

(Continued)

Although the technology is still being developed, a production facility is under construction. Kodak has reached deals with undisclosed electronics makers and expects to begin production of the screens by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Kodak wants to use the same technology to eventually create smart packaging, which could include sensors that, for instance, tell consumers if a bag of food had been out of the refrigerator too long.

Todd Watkins, who worked for Kodak in the 1980s and now serves as an economics professor at Lehigh University, said that for the new Kodak to survive, it will need to find a way to stand out in a fiercely competitive market where companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Xerox Corp. are already entrenched and struggling with problems of their own.

Even as some of Kodak's technology, like the new touch screens, has potential, Watkins said, it remains to be seen whether the company can transfer that into profits.

"It's cool, absolutely, but is it a business? That's the question," Watkins said.

Ari Zoldan, CEO of Quantum Networks Inc. and a technology analyst and entrepreneur, was more skeptical about Kodak's ability to compete in commercial printing.

He said that while Kodak symbolized the gold standard in the printing industry for many years, it failed to evolve with the times. He said its competitors now have too strong of a hold on the market. But he said Kodak's research and development capabilities are very strong, so the company could succeed if it can quickly focus itself on just a few niche areas.

"Can they hang their hat on these technologies?" Zoldan asked. "It's a long shot. By no stretch of the imagination is it a slam dunk."

—NEW BEGINNINGS

Perez said he's confident that Kodak's post-bankruptcy balance sheet, combined with its new focus and technologies, will set the company up for financial success in the years to come.

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