Strategically Blogging

The End of Non-LED Lighting is Approaching

Philip Smallwood 09/02/2015

A few weeks ago, EdisonReport reported that GE will be discontinuing some incumbent lighting technology luminaires, and will no longer be producing any new custom non-LED luminaire configurations starting in 2016. 

IKEA Lives Up to its Promise to Only Sell LED Bulbs

Stephanie Pruitt 08/18/2015

In 2012, IKEA, the world’s largest home-furnishings retailer, vowed that it would only sell LED lamps in its stores by 2016. Three years later, it looks as though the retail giant is keeping its word and getting a head start.

The End of the Smartphone Era Has Arrived. Bring in the Lasers.

Allen Nogee 08/06/2015

It’s really hard to believe that it has been just a little over 8 years since Apple introduced the iPhone, the smartphone which more or less started the smartphone revolution. In 2014, close to 1.2 billion smartphones were shipped, with Apple and Samsung leading the pack. But smartphone shipments are slowing, so manufacturers are doing what they can to get new customer by adding lasers.

Remembering Dr. Roland Haitz

Shonika Vijay 08/06/2015

We heard about the passing of Dr. Roland Haitz in late June and we wanted to take this moment and remember the pioneering figure behind the evolving world of LEDs. We give our condolences to Dr. Haitz’s family, friends and the many lives his research and work touched.

What’s going on with CREE?

Martin Shih 06/26/2015

Cree has announced that the company will restructure its LED business in order to reduce overhead and to improve the business’s cost structure in the future.

Kodak exits opto and ends an era

By Tom Hausken
It seems like the end of an era: Kodak is selling its CCD operations and its image sensor patents. It had been making CCDs since 1975, one of the early companies to make them, but waited until 1989 to sell them externally. Kodak had a number of firsts, including the first megapixel sensor, in 1986.

Then CMOS image sensors took off.CMOS sensors were conceived early on, but the lithography was too poor at the time. Omnivision and others brought it to life in the 1990s. Kodak tried several times to break into that product line, but it never worked out. Kodak teamed with Motorola in 1997 on CMOS image sensors. In 2004 it acquired National Semiconductor’s CMOS image sensor operation, for about $10 million in cash. Kodak even had deals with IBM and TSMC to manufacture the sensors, and some clever technology. But it wasn't enough.  

In our 1997 market report, we estimated that Kodak was the leading producer of image sensors outside of Japan, with $38 million in sales and under 6% market share. By the time of our 2009 market report, the image sensor market had grown 10X, but Kodak’s sales were stuck for years at about $80 million. Then in April it sold hundreds of patents and patent applications to Omnivision, for $65 million. And now it’s selling the CCD facility and its 200 employees to  Platinum Equity, a private equity firm.

In a way, kicking out the CCD business has little in common with the rest of Kodak’s problems. The operation being sold still makes high performance CCDs for high-end professional and scientific applications--some of it is really amazing stuff. And over the years a lot of companies have handed off their image sensor operations. For example, Pixel Devices International was sold to Agilent, which became Avago, who sold the image sensor operation to Micron, which spun it off as Aptina. And of course, Kodak is still huge into imaging, and that's photonics too.

It’s just the business getting older, but Kodak had been a classic example of a U.S. company deep into optoelectronics--that is, the actual making of the chips. No more.

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