Can ink jet save Kodak?

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Kodak, which has been struggling to build its digital imaging business as its film-based consumer photography business waned, is selling off part of its lucrative patent portfolio in a bid to buy more time and improve its deteriorating cash reserves, according to a Wall Street Journal story today. That business includes a line of digital cameras and ink jet printers.

Kodak had high hopes when it launched its EasyShare multifunction ink jet printer line back in 2007. It's claim that other printer vendors were "ripping off" the public by selling them cheap printers and expensive ink hit a nerve with consumers, who sometimes found that the first set of replacement cartridges cost more than the printer did.

But Kodak had a hard time early on getting shelf space in a market dominated by HP, Epson, Lexmark and Canon, and users complained about quality problems in online forums.

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