Polaroid magic is coming to an end


I remember the days when Polaroid cameras were the hottest thing. We didn't have one, but on occasion at a gathering of family and friends, someone would show up with one. The pictures weren't that good, but the idea that you could see them within minutes was revolutionary. The first instant camera was made in 1948, and the technology became seriously popular in the 1970s.

And then came digital cameras, and the ability to see pictures instantly won us over. Polaroid failed to adapt. Two years ago the company stopped producing its instant cameras, and now Polaroid has announced that it's quitting the instant picture business altogether.

The company is hoping to finally get with the times and figure out how to do business going forward, in this age of digital cameras. It seems it's a little late to the game, however, so I don't know how successful it can possibly be. Traditional pictures on film have been dying for a while.

Of course, you can still get film (and some professional photographers prefer to still work with film) but its popularity among the general public has fallen significantly. Polaroids may still be popular among some for its kitch-factor -- how fun is it to pull out the Polaroid at parties? But even that cultural reference is aging out. And so goes the product. The only hope for those who still love the cameras is for another company to buy that part of the business. All you Polaroid enthusiasts, cross your fingers.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.