Polaroid-From instant prints to instant job cuts.
Polaroid long known for its instant photography solutions for the masses is now closing factories in Massachusetts, Mexico and the Netherlands and cutting 450 jobs as the brand synonymous with instant images focuses on ventures, such as a portable printer for images from cell phones and Polaroid-branded digital cameras, televisions and DVD players. This year’s closures will leave Polaroid with 150 employees at its Concord headquarters and a site in the nearby Boston suburb of Waltham, down from peak global employment of nearly 21,000 in 1978. The company stopped making instant cameras over the past two years. Polaroid failed to embrace the digital technology that has transformed photography, instead sticking to its belief that many photographers who didn’t want to wait to get pictures developed would hold onto their old Polaroid cameras. Global sales of traditional camera film have been dropping about 25 percent to 30 percent per year. Privately held Polaroid doesn’t disclose financial details about its instant film business. Polaroid instant film will be available in stores through next year, the company said – after which, Lee said, Japan’s Fujifilm (FUJI) would be the only major maker of instant film. Polaroid got its start making polarized sunglasses in the 1930s, and introduced its first instant camera in 1948. Film packs contained the chemicals for developing images inside the camera, and photos emerged from the camera in less than a minute. As it seeks to gain a foothold in digital photography this year, Polaroid plans to sell an 8-ounce photo printer slightly bigger than a deck of cards that requires no ink and prints business card-sized pictures. It uses thermal printing technology from Zink Imaging, founded by private investors who bought technologies from Polaroid as it was coming out of bankruptcy.
Polaroid also has its brand name on foreign-made TVs, DVD players, digital photo frames, cameras and MP3 music players. Those products generated nearly $1 billion in revenue last year for Polaroid’s parent firm. All we say is long live the legend of Polaroid for giving us a cool gadget for us to grow-up and hope for better days.