Competency-destroying Technology Transitions: Why the Transition to Digital is Particularly Challenging Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Some technology transitions is extremely difficult for the operating companies to run. The bankruptcy of the company Eastman Kodak noted the difficulties companies face when their core business shifted from analog to the digital world. Kodak business was built for sale complex manufactured product - color film, which was extremely difficult to make - with correspondingly high barriers to entry. For more than a century, it has developed a complex chemistry and high-tech coating speed, which allowed it to roll coat tiny strips of plastic with as many as 24 layers of complex organic dyes and photosensitizers for thousands of square feet per minute. Its color film and paper products, including Kodachrome KODACOLOR and preserved many of the iconic images of the past century. Beginning in the 1990s, the company built the digital photography business, but by 2012 the company was reorganized and its prognosis was guarded. Kodak faced a particularly complex analog to digital transition, as many companies are faced with waves of creative destruction, technological innovation. Why the analog to digital transition in the core technology business particularly difficult? This note discusses some of research on how firm luck with technology transitions, and then explains why the transformation of technology from analog to digital is uniquely problematic. The problem faced by Kodak is the same challenge faced by companies like Panasonic and Sony, of telecommunications equipment and other industries now that the basic technology, through which goods and services are built has changed.
This note discusses the technical aspects of the transition from analog to digital, and why the operating companies as Kodak, Sony, Panasonic and experience such difficulties. "Hide
by Willy Shih, 11 pages. Publication Date: August 13, 2012. Prod. #: 613024-PDF-ENG

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