Case Study On: Kodak vs Fuji
The Battle For Global Market Share
Under the Supervision of and Submitted To
business Ethics & Legal Environment (510)
faculty of business studies
21 April 2012
As retail America is undergoes a dramatic change with the constant consolidation of companies, management must strive to maintain a competitive advantage or risk being acquired. The worldwide success of Wal-Mart has led many to diversify and heed the adage that “bigger is indeed better.” An example in the global grocery industry is the Ahold Group (Netherlands) which now operates in more than 17 countries including their recent acquisition of New York based Pathmark. In the U.S. grocery industry, the merger between Albertson’s and American Stores, and the U.S. Chain Drug landscape has rapidly changed over the last two years with only four major players left standing: CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreen’s, and Eckerd. As the retail community shrinks, they put greater emphasis on their suppliers for quality products at a competitive price that enables them to make healthy margins to attract consumers. If one manufacturer cannot supply the necessary ingredients, retailers will look for other alternatives. This environment has provided an opportunity to shake up an otherwise mature and stable industry such as the photographic industry and has paved the way for a viable competitor to Kodak such as Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. The phenomenon has contributed to Fuji making significant inroads into Kodak’s once commanding U.S. market share in particular and to its global share in general. This case study shows the evolution of the Kodak-Fuji relationship, specifically from Kodak’s perspective. The case study will attempt to show how Kodak has fallen from its lofty mantel and how it has developed strategies to rectify the situation. H. Donald Hopkins provided the groundwork for this revised case study in his original work “Kodak vs. Fuji: A Case of Japanese-American Strategic Interaction.” The follow up study examines this relationship, with respect to market share battles (both globally and domestically), sponsorship battles, court battles and the photographic industry in general. The relationship between Kodak and Fuji had always been adversarial, as competitors naturally are; however, it took a very serious turn in May 1995 when Kodak filed a Section 301 petition under U.S. trade law. The petition claimed that Kodak’s 7-10 percent market share in Japan was not a result of consumer choice and marketing efforts but rather a result of four principle Japanese wholesalers, backed by the Japanese government, that are exclusive Fujifilm supporters. As a result, the World Trade Organization, which eventually presided over the court decision, announced on January 30, 1998, a “sweeping rejection of Kodak’s complaints” about the film market in Japan. At present, with the court battles behind them, Kodak and Fuji can now pool their efforts to grow the photographic and imaging business as they did with their shared effort, along with Canon, Minolta, and Nikon, in releasing the Advanced Photo System in 1996. These types of efforts are necessary to stave off the real competition to photography, the computer savvy who demands digital imaging.
The traditional silver halide photographic industry is a very unique industry in that there are just two dominant players. The case presented is a classic example of one company --- Kodak----trying to maintain and/or increase it’s leadership position within it’s respective industry, while another aggressive player---Fuji--- is trying to steal market share. Although this industry is unique in that there are just two dominant players, the problems that EK faces are not.
1. How can Kodak protect its strategic advantage from competitors, especially...