Trivia question: What company commissioned the first memory cards?

It's a Kodak moment the company would rather forget.

Flash memory cards, along with digital cameras, sounded the death knell for traditional film cameras and dealt a serious blow to companies like Kodak and Fuji that depended on that industry.

So it's ironic that Kodak was one of the two companies that commissioned the CompactFlash card. (Canon was the other.) The format, coined in 1994, was the first successful flash card. Kodak had made a digital camera but the storage device inside of it made the camera big and bulky. The company, along with Canon, then commissioned SanDisk to come up with something smaller. The CompactFlash card was the result, way back in the '90s, according to SanDisk CEO Eli Harari.

Ultimately, Casio, not Kodak, had the first commercial success with digital cameras and many other companies, but not Kodak, made piles of money on flash cards. Kodak tried to do its own branded memory cards too, but was late.

"They had it all," Harari said.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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