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, commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese
multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, a sovereign state that comprises two or more nat ...
conglomerate Conglomerate or conglomeration may refer to: * Conglomerate (company) * Conglomerate (geology) * Conglomerate (mathematics) In popular culture: * The Conglomerate (American group), a production crew and musical group founded by Busta Rhymes ** Con ...
corporation headquartered in Kōnan,
Minato, Tokyo is a special ward in Tokyo Tokyo (: , ''Tōkyō'' ), historically known in the west as Tokio and officially the Tokyo Metropolis (, ''Tōkyō-to''), is and most populous . Located at the head of , the prefecture forms part of the on t ...
, Japan. As a major
technology company A technology company (or tech company) is an electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active devices to contr ...
, it operates as one of the world's largest manufacturers of consumer and professional electronic products, the largest
video game console A video game console is an electronic device that output Output may refer to: * The information produced by a computer, see Input/output In computing, input/output (I/O, or informally io or IO) is the communication between an information proc ...
company and the largest
video game publisher A video game publisher is a company that publishes video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard, keyboard, ...
. Through Sony Entertainment Inc, it is one of the largest
music companies Music is the The arts, art of arranging Sound, sounds in time to produce a Musical composition, composition through the Elements of music, elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal Culture, cultural aspects of ...
(largest music publisher & second largest
record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and adv ...
) and the third largest
film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a major entertainment company or motion picture company that has its own privately owned studio A studio is an artist or worker's workroom. This can be for the purpose of acting, arc ...
, making it one of the most comprehensive media companies. It is the largest technology and media conglomerate in Japan. At the same period, it is also recognized as the most cash-rich Japanese company, with its net cash reserves of ¥2 trillion. Sony, with its 55 percent market share in the
image sensor An image sensor or imager is a that detects and conveys information used to make an . It does so by converting the variable of light s (as they or objects) into , small bursts of that convey the information. The waves can be light or other ...
market, is the largest manufacturer of image sensors, the second largest camera manufacturer, and is among the semiconductor sales leaders. It is the world's largest player in the premium TV market for a television of at least with a price higher than $2,500 as well as second largest TV brand by market share and, as of 2020, the third largest television manufacturer in the world by annual sales figures. Sony Group Corporation is the
holding company A holding company is a company whose primary business is holding a controlling interest in the securities of other companies. A holding company usually does not produce goods or services itself. Its purpose is to own shares of other companies ...
of the , which comprises Sony Corporation, Sony Semiconductor Solutions,
Sony Entertainment Sony Entertainment, Inc. is an American entertainment company established in 2012. It focuses on most of Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corpor ...
(
Sony Pictures Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Sony Pictures or SPE, and formerly known as Columbia Pictures Entertainment Inc.) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment studio conglomerate Conglomerate or congl ...
,
Sony Music Sony Music Entertainment (SME), also known as just Sony Music, is an American multinational Music industry, music company. Owned by the parent conglomerate (company), conglomerate Sony, Sony Group Corporation, it is part of the Sony Music Group ...
),
Sony Interactive Entertainment Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), formerly known as Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), is a multinational video game#REDIRECT Video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device ...
, Sony Financial Group, and others. The company's slogan is ''We are Sony''. Their former slogans were ''The One and Only'' (1979–1982), ''It's a Sony'' (1981–2005), ''like.no.other'' (2005–2009), '' make.believe'' (2009–2013) and ''Be Moved'' (2013–2021). Sony has a weak tie to the
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group is a Japanese multinational banking and financial services institution headquartered in Yurakucho, Chiyoda, Tokyo is a Special wards of Tokyo, special ward located in central Tokyo, Japan. It is known as Chiyoda City in English language, Engli ...
(SMFG)
corporate group A corporate group or group of companies is a collection of parent and subsidiary corporations A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity ...
, the successor to the
Mitsui is one of the largest keiretsu A is a set of companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of b ...

Mitsui
''
keiretsu A is a set of companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of both, with a specific objective. Comp ...

keiretsu
''. Sony is listed on the
Tokyo Stock Exchange#REDIRECT Tokyo Stock Exchange 150px, Logo used prior to JPX merger The Tokyo Stock Exchange (), abbreviated as Tosho () or TSE/TYO, is a stock exchange located in Tokyo Tokyo ( , ; Japanese language, Japanese: 東京, ''Tōkyō'' ), offi ...
(in which it is a constituent of the
Nikkei 225 The Nikkei 225, or , more commonly called the ''Nikkei'' or the ''Nikkei index'' (), is a stock market index In finance, a stock index, or stock market index, is an Index (economics), index that measures a stock market, or a subset of the stock ...

Nikkei 225
and
TOPIX , commonly known as TOPIX, along with the Nikkei 225 The Nikkei 225, or , more commonly called the ''Nikkei'' or the ''Nikkei index'' (), is a stock market index In finance, a stock index, or stock market index, is an Index (economics), inde ...
Core30 indexes) with an additional listing in the form of
American depositary receipts An American depositary receipt (ADR, and sometimes spelled ''depository'') is a Negotiable instrument, negotiable security that represents securities of a foreign company and allows that company's shares to trade in the U.S. financial markets. S ...
listed in the
New York Stock Exchange The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE, nicknamed "The Big Board") is an American stock exchange A stock exchange, securities exchange, or bourse is an Exchange (organized market), exchange where stockbrokers and stock trader, traders can buy an ...

New York Stock Exchange
(traded since 1970, making it the oldest Japanese company to be listed in an American exchange), and was ranked 122nd on the 2020 ''Fortune'' Global 500 list.


History


Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo

Sony began in the wake of World War II. In 1946,
Masaru Ibuka Masaru Ibuka (井深 大 ''Ibuka Masaru''; April 11, 1908 – December 19, 1997) was a Japanese electronics industrialist and co-founder of Sony.Kirkup, James"Obituary: Masaru Ibuka,"''Independent'' (London). December 22, 1997.Fasol, Gerhard''N ...
started an electronics shop in Shirokiya, a department store building in the
Nihonbashi is a business district of Chūō, Tokyo is a Special wards of Tokyo, special ward that forms part of the heart of Tokyo, Japan. The ward refers to itself in English as Chūō City. It was formed in 1947 as a merger of Kyōbashi, Tokyo, Kyo ...
area of
Tokyo Tokyo (Japanese language, Japanese: , ''Tōkyō'' ), historically known in the west as Tokio and officially the Tokyo Metropolis (, ''Tōkyō-to''), is capital of Japan, the capital and most populous Prefectures of Japan, prefecture of Japan ...

Tokyo
. The company started with a capital of ¥190,000 and a total of eight employees. On 7 May 1946, Ibuka was joined by
Akio Morita Akio Morita (January 26, 1921 – October 3, 1999) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony along with Masaru Ibuka. Early life Akio Morita was born in Nagoya, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Morita's family was involved in sake, miso and soy sau ...
to establish a company called (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation). The company built Japan's first
tape recorder An audio tape recorder, also known as a tape deck, tape player or tape machine or simply a tape recorder, is a sound recording and reproduction Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical Electricity is the set of physical ...
, called the Type-G. In 1958, the company changed its name to "Sony". The name derives from "sonus", the latin word for sound.


Name

When ''Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo'' was looking for a romanized name to use to market themselves, they strongly considered using their initials, TTK. The primary reason they did not is that the railway company Tokyo Kyuko was known as TTK. The company occasionally used the acronym "Totsuko" in Japan, but during his visit to the United States, Morita discovered that Americans had trouble pronouncing that name. Another early name that was tried out for a while was "Tokyo Teletech" until
Akio Morita Akio Morita (January 26, 1921 – October 3, 1999) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony along with Masaru Ibuka. Early life Akio Morita was born in Nagoya, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Morita's family was involved in sake, miso and soy sau ...
discovered that there was an American company already using Teletech as a brand name. The name "Sony" was chosen for the brand as a mix of two words: one was the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
word "'' sonus''", which is the root of sonic and sound, and the other was "''
sonny Sonny is a common nickname and occasional given name. It can be a derivative of the English word "Son", a name derived from the Ancient Germanic element *sunn meaning "sun" or the Slavic male name Slavon meaning "famous, glorious". People with t ...
''", a common slang term used in 1950s America to call a young boy.Sony Corporate History (Japanese)
Sony.co.jp. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
In 1950s Japan, "sonny boys" was a
loan word A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguis ...
in Japanese, which connoted smart and presentable young men, which Sony founders
Akio Morita Akio Morita (January 26, 1921 – October 3, 1999) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony along with Masaru Ibuka. Early life Akio Morita was born in Nagoya, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Morita's family was involved in sake, miso and soy sau ...
and
Masaru Ibuka Masaru Ibuka (井深 大 ''Ibuka Masaru''; April 11, 1908 – December 19, 1997) was a Japanese electronics industrialist and co-founder of Sony.Kirkup, James"Obituary: Masaru Ibuka,"''Independent'' (London). December 22, 1997.Fasol, Gerhard''N ...
considered themselves to be. The first Sony-branded product, the
TR-55 The TR-55, released in 1955, was Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinat ...
transistor radio A transistor radio is a small portable radio receiver radio in the 1940s. During the golden age of radio, 1925–1955, families gathered to listen to the home radio receiver in the evening In radio, radio communications, a radio receiver, al ...

transistor radio
, appeared in 1955, but the company name did not change to Sony until January 1958. At the time of the change, it was extremely unusual for a Japanese company to use
Roman letters Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs ( script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumaean Greek version of the Greek alphabet The Greek alphabet has been ...
to spell its name instead of writing it in
kanji are a set of logographic In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gest ...

kanji
. The move was not without opposition: TTK's principal bank at the time,
Mitsui is one of the largest keiretsu A is a set of companies A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal personality, legal or a mixture of b ...

Mitsui
, had strong feelings about the name. They pushed for a name such as Sony Electronic Industries, or Sony Teletech. Akio Morita was firm, however, as he did not want the company name tied to any particular industry. Eventually, both Ibuka and Mitsui Bank's chairman gave their approval.


Globalization

According to Schiffer, Sony's TR-63 radio "cracked open the U.S. market and launched the new industry of consumer microelectronics." By the mid-1950s, American teens had begun buying portable transistor radios in huge numbers, helping to propel the fledgling industry from an estimated 100,000 units in 1955 to 5 million units by the end of 1968. Sony co-founder Akio Morita founded Sony Corporation of America in 1960. In the process, he was struck by the mobility of employees between American companies, which was unheard of in Japan at that time. When he returned to Japan, he encouraged experienced, middle-aged employees of other companies to reevaluate their careers and consider joining Sony. The company filled many positions in this manner, and inspired other Japanese companies to do the same. Moreover, Sony played a major role in the development of Japan as a powerful exporter during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.Christian, Caryl, and With Hideko Takayama and Kay Itoi in Tokyo, George Wehrfritz in Hong Kong, John Sparks and Michael Hastings in, New York. "Sony is Not Japan; the Appointment of a Foreign CEO is a Sign of how Far the Iconic Company has Fallen in the Japanese Corporate Elite." Newsweek 21 March 2005: 30-. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 26 May 2012. It also helped to significantly improve American perceptions of "made in Japan" products.Lohr, Steve. "Hard-Hit Sony Girds for a Fight in the American Electronics Market." New York Times: A.8. New York Times. 14 August 1983. Web. 26 May 2012. Known for its production quality, Sony was able to charge above-market prices for its consumer electronics and resisted lowering prices. In 1971, Masaru Ibuka handed the position of president over to his co-founder Akio Morita. Sony began a life insurance company in 1979, one of its many peripheral businesses. Amid a global recession in the early 1980s, electronics sales dropped and the company was forced to cut prices. Sony's profits fell sharply. "It's over for Sony", one analyst concluded. "The company's best days are behind it." Around that time,
Norio Ohga , otherwise spelled ''Norio Oga'' (January 29, 1930 – April 23, 2011), was the former president and chairman of Sony Corporation, credited with spurring the development of the compact disc as a commercially viable audio format. Biography Early ...
took up the role of president. He encouraged the development of the compact disc (CD) in the 1970s and 1980s, and of the
PlayStation is a video game brand that consists of five home video game consoles, two Handheld game console, handhelds, a Home theater PC, media center, and a smartphone, as well as an online service and multiple magazines. The brand is produced by Sony ...

PlayStation
in the early 1990s. Ohga went on to purchase in 1988 and
Columbia Pictures Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a Film, motion picture is #Production, produced. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, starting wit ...
in 1989, greatly expanding Sony's media presence. Ohga would succeed Morita as chief executive officer in 1989. Under the vision of co-founder Akio MoritaFackler, Martin. "Cutting Sony, a Corporate Octopus, Back to a Rational Size." New York Times: C.1. New York Times. 29 May 2006. Web. 27 May 2012. and his successors, the company had aggressively expanded into new businesses. Part of its motivation for doing so was the pursuit of "convergence", linking film, music and digital electronics via the Internet. This expansion proved unrewarding and unprofitable, threatening Sony's ability to charge a premium on its products as well as its brand name. In 2005,
Howard Stringer Sir Howard Stringer (born 19 February 1942) is a Welsh businessman. He served as chairman of the board, chairman, president and CEO of Sony is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corp ...

Howard Stringer
replaced
Nobuyuki Idei 255px, Idei in 2008 Nobuyuki Idei (出井 伸之, ''Idei Nobuyuki''; born November 22, 1937) is a Japanese businessman. He was Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer of Sony Corporation until the 7th March 2005. He is a director of General Moto ...
as chief executive officer, marking the first time that a foreigner had run a major Japanese electronics firm. Stringer helped to reinvigorate the company's struggling media businesses, encouraging blockbusters such as ''
Spider-Man Spider-Man is a superhero A superhero or superheroine is a that possesses , abilities beyond those of ordinary people, and fits the role of the , typically using his or her powers to help the , or dedicating themselves to and fightin ...
'' while cutting 9,000 jobs. He hoped to sell off peripheral business and focus the company again on electronics. Furthermore, he aimed to increase cooperation between business units, which he described as "silos" operating in isolation from one another. In a bid to provide a unified brand for its global operations, Sony introduced a slogan known as "make.believe" in 2009. Despite some successes, the company faced continued struggles in the mid- to late-2000s. In 2012, was promoted to president and CEO, replacing Stringer. Shortly thereafter, Hirai outlined his company-wide initiative, named "One Sony" to revive Sony from years of financial losses and bureaucratic management structure, which proved difficult for former CEO Stringer to accomplish, partly due to differences in business culture and native languages between Stringer and some of Sony's Japanese divisions and subsidiaries. Hirai outlined three major areas of focus for Sony's electronics business, which include imaging technology, gaming and mobile technology, as well as a focus on reducing the major losses from the television business. In February 2014, Sony announced the sale of its
Vaio is a Japanese manufacturer headquartered in Azumino, Nagano Prefecture is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basin, endorheic basins. Th ...

Vaio
PC division to a new corporation owned by investment fund Japan Industrial Partners and spinning its TV division into its own corporation as to make it more nimble to turn the unit around from past losses totaling $7.8 billion over a decade. Later that month, they announced that they would be closing 20 stores. In April, the company announced that they would be selling 9.5 million shares in
Square Enix is a Japanese entertainment conglomerate and video game company best known for its ''Final Fantasy is a Japanese video game, Japanese anthology science fantasy media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Squa ...

Square Enix
(roughly 8.2 percent of the game company's total shares) in a deal worth approximately $48 million. In May 2014 the company announced it was forming two joint ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group to manufacture and market Sony's
PlayStation is a video game brand that consists of five home video game consoles, two Handheld game console, handhelds, a Home theater PC, media center, and a smartphone, as well as an online service and multiple magazines. The brand is produced by Sony ...

PlayStation
games consoles and associated software in China. In 2015, Sony purchased Toshiba's image sensor business. It was reported in December 2016 by multiple news outlets that Sony was considering restructuring its U.S. operations by merging its TV & film business, Sony Pictures Entertainment, with its gaming business, Sony Interactive Entertainment. According to the reports, such a restructuring would have placed Sony Pictures under Sony Interactive's CEO, Andrew House, though House wouldn't have taken over day-to-day operations of the film studio. According to one report, Sony was set to make a final decision on the possibility of the merger of the TV, film, & gaming businesses by the end of its fiscal year in March of the following year (2017). In 2017, Sony sold its
lithium-ion battery A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery A rechargeable battery, storage battery, or secondary cell, (or archaically accumulator) is a type of electrical battery A battery is a device consisting of o ...
business to Murata Manufacturing. In 2019, Sony merged its mobile, TV and camera businesses. On 1 April 2020, Sony Electronics Corporation was established as an intermediate holding company to own and oversee its electronics and IT solutions businesses. On 19 May 2020, the company announced that it would rename Sony Group Corporation as of 1 April 2021. Subsequently, Sony Electronics Corporation would be renamed to Sony Corporation. On the same day the company announced that it would turn Sony Financial Holdings (currently Sony Financial Group), of which Sony already owns 65.06% of shares, to a wholly owned subsidiary through a takeover bid. On 1 April 2021, Sony Corporation was renamed Sony Group Corporation. On the same day, Sony Mobile Communications Inc. absorbed Sony Electronics Corporation, Sony Imaging Products & Solutions Inc., and Sony Home Entertainment & Sound Products Inc. and changed its trade name to Sony Corporation.


Formats and technologies

Sony has historically been notable for creating its own in-house standards for new recording and storage technologies, instead of adopting those of other manufacturers and standards bodies, while its success in the early years owes to a smooth capitalization on the
Compact Cassette The Compact Cassette or Musicassette (MC), also commonly called the tape cassette, cassette tape, audio cassette, or simply tape or cassette, is an analog magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for , made of a thin, magnetizable coating ...

Compact Cassette
standard introduced by
Philips Koninklijke Philips N.V. (in Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer t ...

Philips
, with which Sony went on to enjoy a decades-long technological relationship in various areas. Sony (either alone or with partners) has introduced several of the most popular recording formats, including the 3.5-inch
floppy disk A floppy disk or floppy diskette (sometimes casually referred to as a floppy or diskette) is a type of disk storage Disk storage (also sometimes called drive storage) is a general category of storage mechanisms where data is recorded by vario ...

floppy disk
,
Compact Disc The compact disc (CD) is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of electronics Electronics compri ...

Compact Disc
and
Blu-ray Disc The Blu-ray Disc (BD), often known simply as Blu-ray, is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of elec ...

Blu-ray Disc
.


Video recording

Sony introduced
U-matic #REDIRECT U-matic #REDIRECT U-matic#REDIRECT U-matic U-matic is an analogue recording videocassette format first shown by Sony is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation ...

U-matic
, the world's first
videocassette Videotape is magnetic tape Magnetic tape is a medium for magnetic recording, made of a thin, magnetizable coating on a long, narrow strip of plastic film Plastic film is a thin continuous polymeric material. Thicker plastic material i ...
format, in 1971, but the standard was unpopular for domestic use due to the high price. The company subsequently launched the
Betamax Betamax (also known as Beta, as in its logo) is a consumer-level analog-recording and cassette Cassette may refer to: Technology * Cassette tape (or ''musicassette'', ''audio cassette'', ''cassette tape'', or ''tape''), a worldwide standard f ...
format in 1975. Sony was involved in the
videotape format war The videotape format war was a period of competition or "format war A format war is a competition between similar but mutually incompatible technical standards that compete for the same market, such as for data storage device On a reel- ...
of the early 1980s, when they were marketing the
Betamax Betamax (also known as Beta, as in its logo) is a consumer-level analog-recording and cassette Cassette may refer to: Technology * Cassette tape (or ''musicassette'', ''audio cassette'', ''cassette tape'', or ''tape''), a worldwide standard f ...
system for video cassette recorders against the
VHS VHS (Video Home System) is a for consumer-level on tape . From the 1950s, video recording became a major contributor to the television industry, via the first commercialized s (VTRs). At that time, the expensive devices were used only i ...

VHS
format developed by
JVC The , usually referred to as JVC or the Japan Victor Company, is a Japanese brand owned by JVCKenwood corporation. Founded in 1927, the company is best known for introducing Japan's first televisions and for developing the Video Home System (VH ...

JVC
. In the end, VHS gained critical mass in the marketbase and became the worldwide standard for consumer VCRs. Betamax is, for all practical purposes, an obsolete format. Sony's professional-oriented
component video Component video is an analog video Video is an electronic Electronic may refer to: *Electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electron ...
format called
Betacam Betacam is a family of half-inch professional Videocassette#Cassette formats, videocassette products developed by Sony in 1982. In colloquial use, "Betacam" singly is often used to refer to a Betacam camcorder, a Betacam tape, a Betacam ...
, which was derived from Betamax, was used until 2016 when Sony announced it was stopping production of all remaining 1/2-inch video tape recorders and players, including the Digital Betacam format. In 1985, Sony launched their Handycam products and the Video8 format. Video8 and the follow-on hi-band
Hi8 The 8mm video format refers informally to three related videocassette formats for the NTSC The abbreviation NTSC can refer to the National Television System Committee,National Television System Committee (1951–1953), eport and Reports of Pan ...
format became popular in the consumer camcorder market. In 1987 Sony launched the 4 mm DAT or
Digital Audio Tape Digital Audio Tape (DAT or R-DAT) is a signal recording and playback medium developed by Sony and introduced in 1987. In appearance it is similar to a Compact Cassette, using 3.81 mm / 0.15" (commonly referred to as 4 mm) magnetic ...
as a new digital audio tape standard.


Visual display

Sony held a patent for its proprietary
Trinitron Trinitron is Sony is a Japanese Multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo. The company operates as one of the world's largest manufacturers of consu ...

Trinitron
until 1996. Sony introduced the Triluminos Display, the company's proprietary color reproduction enhancing technology, in 2004, featured in the world's first
LED-backlit LCD A LED-backlit LCD is a liquid-crystal display that uses LEDs for backlighting instead of traditional cold cathode#Lamps, cold cathode fluorescent (CCFL) backlighting. LED-backlit displays use the same TFT LCD (thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal ...
televisions. It was widely used in other Sony's products as well, including computer monitors, laptops, and smartphones. In 2013, Sony released a new line of televisions with an improved version of the technology, which incorporated
quantum dot Quantum dots (QDs) are semiconductor particles a few nanometres in size, having optical and electronic properties that differ from larger particles due to quantum mechanics. They are a central topic in nanotechnology Nanotechnology, also ...

quantum dot
s in the backlight system. It was the first commercial use of quantum dots. In 2012, the company revealed a prototype of an ultrafine RGB
LED An LED A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor A semiconductor material has an Electrical resistivity and conductivity, electrical conductivity value falling between that of a Electrical conductor, conductor, such as metallic ...
display, which it calls the Crystal LED Display.


Audio recording

Sony used the Compact Cassette format in many of its tape recorders and players, including the
Walkman Walkman is a brand of portable audio player A portable audio player is a personal mobile device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or ...

Walkman
, the world's first portable music player. Sony introduced the
MiniDisc MiniDisc (MD) is a Magneto-optical drive, magneto-optical disc-based data storage device, data storage format offering a capacity of 60, 74, and later, 80 minutes of digitized sound, audio. Sony brand audio players went on the market in Sept ...

MiniDisc
format in 1992 as an alternative to
Philips Koninklijke Philips N.V. (in Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer t ...

Philips
DCC or
Digital Compact Cassette The Digital Compact Cassette (DCC) is a magnetic tape sound recording An audio tape recorder, also known as a tape deck, tape player or tape machine or simply a tape recorder, is a sound recording and reproduction device that records and ...
and as a successor to the Compact Cassette. Since the introduction of MiniDisc, Sony has attempted to promote its own audio compression technologies under the
ATRAC Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding (ATRAC) is a family of proprietary audio compression algorithms developed by Sony , commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational c ...
brand, against the more widely used MP3. Until late 2004, Sony's Network Walkman line of digital portable music players did not support the MP3 standard natively. In 2004, Sony built upon the
MiniDisc MiniDisc (MD) is a Magneto-optical drive, magneto-optical disc-based data storage device, data storage format offering a capacity of 60, 74, and later, 80 minutes of digitized sound, audio. Sony brand audio players went on the market in Sept ...

MiniDisc
format by releasing
Hi-MD Hi-MD is a Magneto-optical drive, magneto-optical disc-based data storage device, data storage format. It was a further development of the MiniDisc. With its release in later 2004,
. Hi-MD allows the playback and recording of audio on newly introduced 1 GB Hi-MD discs in addition to playback and recording on regular MiniDiscs. In addition to saving audio on the discs, Hi-MD allows the storage of computer files such as documents, videos and photos.


Audio encoding

In 1993, Sony challenged the industry standard
Dolby Digital Dolby Digital, originally synonymous with Dolby AC-3, is the name for what has now become a family of audio compression technologies developed by Dolby Laboratories Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (often shortened to Dolby Labs and known simply as ...
5.1 surround sound format with a newer and more advanced proprietary motion picture digital audio format called
SDDS is a cinema Cinema may refer to: Film * Cinematography Cinematography (from ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1 ...
(Sony Dynamic Digital Sound). This format employed eight channels (7.1) of audio opposed to just six used in Dolby Digital 5.1 at the time. Ultimately, SDDS has been vastly overshadowed by the preferred DTS (
Digital Theatre System DTS, Inc. (originally Digital Theater Systems) is an American company that makes multichannel audio technologies for film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art ...
) and Dolby Digital standards in the motion picture industry. SDDS was solely developed for use in the theatre circuit; Sony never intended to develop a home theatre version of SDDS. Sony and
Philips Koninklijke Philips N.V. (in Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer t ...

Philips
jointly developed the Sony-Philips digital interface format (
S/PDIF S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) is a type of digital audio Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or converted into, Digital signal (signal processing), digital form. In digital audio, the sound wave of the audio ...
) and the high-fidelity audio system SACD. The latter became entrenched in a format war with
DVD-Audio DVD-Audio (commonly abbreviated as DVD-A) is a digital format for delivering high-fidelity High fidelity (often shortened to Hi-Fi or HiFi) is the high-quality reproduction of sound. It is important to audiophile An audiophile is a perso ...
. Still, neither gained a major foothold with the general public. CDs had been preferred by consumers because of the ubiquitous presence of CD drives in consumer devices until the early 2000s when the iPod and streaming services became available. In 2015, Sony introduced LDAC, a
proprietary {{Short pages monitorSony's entering into the Japanese animation, or anime, business happened in 1995 when a group company Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ) established Aniplex as its subsidiary managing creative productions, which founded A-1 Pictures, the first anime studio of Sony, ten years later. Since then, through group-wide and international ventures, Sony has solidified its position in the industry, elevating the business to what is called the "fourth pillar of its entertainment portfolio" according to ''The Nikkei''. The anime business operations of Sony are scattered around the group, mainly in its Pictures and Music units, as follows: SMEJ's notable related businesses include Aniplex and its subsidiaries CloverWorks and A-1 Pictures while Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan (SPEJ) operates anime-oriented TV channels like Animax, Kids Station; Aniplex and U.S.-headquartered Sony Pictures Television (SPT) co-own online anime distributing company Funimation Global Group acquired in 2017 of which worldwide subsidiaries now include Wakanim and Madman Entertainment. In December 2020, SPT announced that it will buy AT&T's animation business Crunchyroll for $1.175 billion, which will help the company to compete more globally with entertainment giants such as Netflix. This acquisition was completed in August 2021.


Financial Services

Sony Financial Group is a holding company for Sony's financial services business which includes Sony Life (in Japan and the Philippines), Sony Assurance, Sony Bank, etc. The unit proved to be the most profitable of Sony's businesses in FY 2005, earning $1.7 billion in profit. Sony Financial's low fees have aided the unit's popularity while threatening Sony's premium brand name.


Others


Electric vehicles and batteries

A company behind the commercialization of
lithium-ion battery A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery A rechargeable battery, storage battery, or secondary cell, (or archaically accumulator) is a type of electrical battery A battery is a device consisting of o ...
, Sony had been exploring the possibility to manufacture the batteries for electric vehicles. In 2014, Sony participated within NRG Energy eVgo Ready for Electric Vehicle (REV) program, for EV charging parking lots. However, the company then decided to sell its lithium-ion battery business to Murata Manufacturing in 2016. In 2015, Sony invested $842 thousand in ZMP INC., drawing speculations that it is contemplating developing self-driving cars. In January 2020, Sony unveiled a concept electric car at the Consumer Electronics Show, named Sony Vision-S, Vision-S, designed in collaboration with components manufacturer Magna International. At the occasion, Sony also stated its goal of developing technology for the automotive sector, especially concerning autonomous driving, sensors, and in-car entertainment.


Corporate information


Institutional ownership

Sony is a ''kabushiki gaisha'' registered to the
Tokyo Stock Exchange#REDIRECT Tokyo Stock Exchange 150px, Logo used prior to JPX merger The Tokyo Stock Exchange (), abbreviated as Tosho () or TSE/TYO, is a stock exchange located in Tokyo Tokyo ( , ; Japanese language, Japanese: 東京, ''Tōkyō'' ), offi ...
in Japan and the
New York Stock Exchange The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE, nicknamed "The Big Board") is an American stock exchange A stock exchange, securities exchange, or bourse is an Exchange (organized market), exchange where stockbrokers and stock trader, traders can buy an ...

New York Stock Exchange
for overseas trading. , the largest shareholders of Sony are as follows: * Citibank (as depositary bank for American depositary receipt holders) (9.4%) * The Master Trust Bank of Japan–nominated investment trusts (main account) (8.2%) * Japan Trustee Services Bank–nominated investment trusts ** Main trust account (6.1%) ** Trust account 7 (2.4%) ** Trust account 5 (2.1%) * Chase Bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank 385632 (3.2%)


Finances

As of July 2020, Sony, one of the largest Japanese companies by market capitalization and operating profit, was valued at over $90 billion. At the same period, it was also recognized as the most cash-rich Japanese company, with its Net cash flow, net cash reserves of ¥1.8 trillion. The company was immensely profitable throughout the 1990s and early 2000s in part because of the success of its new
PlayStation is a video game brand that consists of five home video game consoles, two Handheld game console, handhelds, a Home theater PC, media center, and a smartphone, as well as an online service and multiple magazines. The brand is produced by Sony ...

PlayStation
line. The company encountered financial difficulty in the mid- to late-2000s due to a number of factors: the global financial crisis, increased competition for PlayStation, and the devastating 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, Japanese earthquake of 2011. The company faced three consecutive years of losses leading up to 2011."Sony: Too Much make-Believe." FT.com (2011): n/a. ABI/INFORM Global; ProQuest Research Library. Web. 26 May 2012. While noting the negative effects of intervening circumstances such as natural disasters and fluctuating currency exchange rates, the ''Financial Times'' criticized the company for its "lack of resilience" and "inability to gauge the economy," voicing skepticism about Sony's revitalization efforts, given a lack of tangible results. In September 2000 Sony had a market capitalization of $100 billion; but by December 2011 it had plunged to $18 billion, reflecting falling prospects for Sony but also reflecting grossly inflated share prices of the 'dot-com bubble' years. Net worth, as measured by stockholder equity, has steadily grown from $17.9 billion in March 2002 to $35.6 billion through December 2011. Earnings yield (inverse of the price to earnings ratio) has never been more than 5% and usually much less; thus Sony has always traded in over-priced ranges with the exception of the 2009 market bottom. On 9 December 2008, Sony announced that it would be cutting 8,000 jobs, dropping 8,000 contractors and reducing its global manufacturing sites by 10% to save $1.1 billion per year. In April 2012, Sony announced that it would reduce its workforce by 10,000 (6% of its employee base) as part of CEO Kaz Hirai's effort to get the company back into the black. This came after a loss of 520 billion yen (roughly US$6.36 billion) for fiscal 2012, the worst since the company was founded. Accumulation loss for the past four years was 919.32 billion-yen. Sony planned to increase its marketing expenses by 30% in 2012. 1,000 of the jobs cut come from the company's mobile phone unit's workforce. 700 jobs will be cut in the 2012–2013 fiscal year and the remaining 300 in the following fiscal year. Sony had revenues of ¥6.493 trillion in 2012 and maintained large reserves of cash, with ¥895 billion on hand as of 2012. In May 2012, Sony's market capitalization was valued at about $15 billion. In January 2013, Sony announced it was selling its US headquarters building for $1.1 billion to a consortium led by real estate developer The Chetrit Group. On 28 January 2014, Moody's Investors Services dropped Sony's credit rating to Ba1—"judged to have speculative elements and a significant credit risk"—saying that the company's "profitability is likely to remain weak and volatile." On 6 February 2014, Sony announced it would trim as many as 5,000 jobs as it attempts to sell its PC business and focus on mobile and tablets. In 2014, Sony South Africa closed its TV, Hi-Fi and camera divisions with the purpose of reconsidering its local distribution model and, in 2017, it returned facilitated by Premium Brand Distributors (Pty) Ltd. In November 2018, Sony posted its earning report for the second quarter showing it has lost about US$480 million in the mobile phone division, prompting another round of downsizing in the unit, including the closure of a manufacturing plant and halving of its workforce.


Environmental record

In November 2011, Sony was ranked 9th (jointly with Panasonic) in Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics. This chart grades major electronics companies on their environmental work. The company scored 3.6/10, incurring a penalty point for comments it has made in opposition to energy efficiency standards in California. It also risks a further penalty point in future editions for being a member of trade associations that have commented against energy efficiency standards. Together with
Philips Koninklijke Philips N.V. (in Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer t ...

Philips
, Sony receives the highest score for energy policy advocacy after calling on the EU to adopt an unconditional 30% reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Meanwhile, it receives full marks for the efficiency of its products. In June 2007, Sony ranked 14th on the Greenpeace guide. Sony fell from its earlier 11th-place ranking due to Greenpeace's claims that Sony had double standards in their waste policies. Greenpeace's 2017 Guide to Greener Electronics rated Sony approximately in the middle among electronics manufacturers with a grade of D+. Since 1976, Sony has had an Environmental Conference. Sony's policies address their effects on global warming, the environment, and resources. They are taking steps to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that they put out as well as regulating the products they get from their suppliers in a process that they call "green procurement". Sony has said that they have signed on to have about 75 percent of their Sony Building (New York), Sony Building running on geothermal power. The "Sony Take Back Recycling Program" allow consumers to recycle the electronics products that they buy from Sony by taking them to eCycle (Recycling) drop-off points around the U.S. The company has also developed a biobattery that runs on sugars and carbohydrates that works similarly to the way living creatures work. This is the most powerful small biobattery to date. In 2000, Sony faced criticism for a document entitled "NGO Strategy" that was leaked to the press. The document involved the company's surveillance of environmental activists in an attempt to plan how to counter their movements. It specifically mentioned environmental groups that were trying to pass laws that held electronics-producing companies responsible for the cleanup of the toxic chemicals contained in their merchandise.


Community engagement

* EYE SEE project
Sony Corporation is actively involved in the EYE SEE project conducted by UNICEF. EYE SEE digital photography workshops have been run for children in Argentina, Tunisia, Mali, South Africa, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Rwanda, Liberia and Pakistan. * South Africa Mobile Library Project
Sony assists The South Africa Primary Education Support Initiative (SAPESI) through financial donations and children book donations to the South Africa Mobile Library Project. * The Sony Canada Charitable Foundation
The Sony Canada Charitable Foundation (SCCF) is a non-profit organization which supports three key charities; the Make-A-Wish Canada, the United Way of Canada and the EarthDay and ECOKIDS program. * Sony Foundation and You Can
After the 2010–11 Queensland floods, 2011 Queensland floods and Black Saturday bushfires, Victorian bushfires, Sony Music released benefit albums with money raised going to the Sony Foundation. You Can is the youth cancer program of Sony Foundation. * Open Planet Ideas Crowdsourcing Project
Sony launched its Open Planet Ideas Crowdsourcing Project, in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and the design group, IDEO. * Street Football Stadium Project
On the occasion of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Sony partnered with and launched the Street Football Stadium Project to support football-based educational programmes in local communities across Latin America and Brazil. More than 25 Street Stadiums were developed since the project's inception. * The Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony launched a relief fund in line with other media and tech companies to aid individuals working in the medical, education, and entertainment sectors.


See also

* List of acquisitions by Sony * List of companies of Japan


Notes


References


Further reading

* ''Made in Japan (biography), Made in Japan'' by Akio Morita and Sony, HarperCollins (1994) * ''Sony: The Private Life'' by John Nathan, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin (1999) * ''The Japan Project: Made in Japan'' – a documentary about Sony's early history in the U.S. by Terry Sanders. * ''The Portable Radio in American Life'' by Michael Brian Schiffer (The University of Arizona Press, 1991). * ''Sony Radio, Sony Transistor Radio 35th Anniversary 1955–1990'' – information booklet (1990)


External links

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