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Camera Makers Hit Hard Worldwide


Alongside stock agencies, imaging companies are also facing large cuts in profits and jobs. Kodak, Sony and Canon have all reported losses in earnings, forcing them to lay off workers.

Eastman Kodak announced that it would eliminate up to 18 percent of its workforce, or 4,500 jobs, this January. This is up from its estimate last year that 1,500 jobs would be cut in 2009. The company reported marked decline in several of its key businesses last year. Sales of camera equipment fell 36 percent, for instance.

Since 2003, Kodak has been undergoing a series of restructuring moves to align itself with the needs of digital photographers. The process cut its workforce in half. The company expects layoffs to save it up to $350 million per year.

Japan's Sony Corp. reported the first operating loss in its 14-year history. Profits fell 95 percent in the last quarter of 2008 to $115 million, and revenue fell 25 percent. In order to cut costs, Sony plans to shut down up to six of its 57 plants and cut 8,000 jobs.

Canon Inc. also reported a sharp downturn in profits. The weakening of the Japanese yen and the low demand for cameras caused the company's profits to drop 81 percent in the last quarter of 2008. Canon expects digital camera sales to decline by 7 percent in 2009, its first decline in unit sales.

AOL, a big customer of stock editorial photographs, also said it would reduce its worforce by 10 percent, cutting 700 jobs.