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The Business Page

Welcome to the business page, a blog where I'll take you behind the scenes of greater Rochester's fast-changing economy. My name is Ben Rand, and I intend to introduce you to some of the personalities, concepts and events that make news in business here. I've been a business reporter for eight years in Rochester and a journalist for 18, working in four states. I grew up in Pittsford, but moved away after college for about a decade. My wife and I live in Irondequoit with our two children.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Grab bag of items

Some observations on items of local business interest:
  • The decision by RIT President Albert Simone to retire next year provides a challenge for the school, of course. But it also has implications for rebuilding upstate's economy. Simone has been a prominent proponent for university-led economic redevelopment. For instance, he helped launch RIT's a high-technology business incubator. Also under his watch, RIT launched an aggressive push to support the region's growing competence in biotechnology and he's been a great booster of entrepreneurship. Off campus, He's been active in the Rump Group (now merged with the Rochester Business Alliance.)
  • Several of my bosses and I had our annual opportunity to interview Eastman Kodak Co.'s chairman and CEO recently. (A full transcript will be in Sunday's Democrat and Chronicle, with audio excerpts available online.) Antonio Perez spoke with us on-the-record for about 45 minutes and discussed the company's progress in making the switch from film to digital technology. He also explained at length the decision to seek alternatives for the company's health group. One area he touched on as an opportunity is in the news. Perez believes that digital imaging in the future will expand far beyond digital cameras and cell phones. For instance, there are crude imaging sensors in cars and other medical devices. To pursue the opportunity, Kodak is working with IBM and other companies to commercialize so-called CMOS image sensors. CMOS sensors are less expensive to produce and more powerful because they can include many of a camera's functions on a single chip. Anyway, Kodak's not alone in pursuing this, as this article in Business Week suggests.
  • It's not a Rochester company, but LEGO Group has chosen this Buffalo firm to help make the new LEGO PC Games online gaming service available to more than 10 million broadband homes. The company, Synacor is a provider of premium content and services on the Internet. On this project, Synacor will work with, a game site that this week lists "Driving School" as its most popular download.


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