ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Eastman Kodak Co. said Tuesday that it is realigning and simplifying its business to cut costs, accelerate its digital transformation and boost its share price. The shares shot up 50 percent but remained at just 60 cents.
The ailing photography icon, which has relied on patent licensing fees and lawsuits for extra cash for years, also sued Apple Inc. and HTC Corp. on Tuesday. It claims their products infringe several of its digital-imaging patents.
As consumers switched to digital from film, Kodak has been pummeled, and it said in November that it could run out of cash in a year if it didn’t sell a trove of 1,100 digital-imaging patents. Its payroll has plunged below 19,000 from 70,000 a decade ago, and it hasn’t had a profitable year since 2007.
As of Jan. 1, Kodak said, it has two business units _ commercial and consumer _ instead of three. Both will report to a new chief operating office that is led jointly by Philip Faraci and Laura Quatela, who also both serve as president.
The company’s three former divisions were: traditional film and photo paper products; consumer digital imaging and graphic communications, which included printing equipment.
Kodak also lodged complaints against the companies before the U.S. International Trade Commission, in Washington, D.C., which can order federal officials to block imports of products made with contested technology.
It said Tuesday that a licensing deal with Apple and RIM could be worth up to $1 billion. The commission, seen as a faster mediator of patent disputes than courts, typically resolves disputes in 18 months.
Since 2005, Kodak has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into new lines of inkjet printers that it says are on the verge of turning a profit. Home photo printers, commercial inkjet presses, workflow software and packaging are viewed as Kodak’s new core.
Kodak is hoping that printers, software and packaging will produce more than twice as much revenue by 2013 and account by then for 25 percent of the company’s total revenue, or nearly $2 billion.
“As we complete Kodak’s transformation to a digital company, our future markets will be very different from our past, and we need to organize ourselves in keeping with that evolution,” said Chief Executive Antonio Perez.
The bulk of Kodak’s products are now digital so the new structure divides the company by market more than by function. The consumer segment includes cameras, paper, home printers, film rolls, photofinishing, online photo-sharing and the intellectual-property unit. The commercial division contains motion-picture, industrial and professional film as well as high-speed presses, printing plates and software, document scanners and other printing products.
Kodak has not yet said whether or where it will make cuts.