May 7, 1946 to Present
TokyoSony Corporation is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo. Its diversified business includes consumer and professional electronics, gaming, entertainment and financial services. The company owns the largest music entertainment business in the world, the largest video game console business and one of the largest video game publishing businesses, and is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets, and a leading player in the film and television entertainment industry. Sony was ranked 97th on the 2018 Fortune Global 500 list.
On 7 May 1946, Ibuka was joined by Akio Morita to establish a company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation).The company built Japan's first tape recorder, called the Type-G. In 1958, the company changed its name to "Sony".
The name "Sony" was chosen for the brand as a mix of two words: one was the Latin word "sonus", which is the root of sonic and sound, and the other was "sonny", a common slang term used in 1950s America to call a young boy. The first Sony-branded product, the TR-55 transistor radio, appeared in 1955 but the company name did not change to Sony until January 1958.
In 1968, Sony introduced the Trinitron brand name for its lines of aperture grille cathode ray tube televisions and (later) computer monitors. Sony stopped production of Trinitron for most markets, but continued producing sets for markets such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and China. Sony discontinued its series of Trinitron computer monitors in 2005. The company discontinued the last Trinitron-based television set in the US in early 2007. The end of Trinitron marked the end of Sony's analog television sets and monitors.
The company launched the Betamax videocassette recording format in 1975. Sony was involved in the videotape format war of the early 1980s, when they were marketing the Betamax system for video cassette recorders against the VHS format developed by JVC. In the end, VHS gained critical mass in the marketbase and became the worldwide standard for consumer VCRs.
In 1993, Sony challenged the industry-standard Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound format with a newer and more advanced proprietary motion picture digital audio format called SDDS (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.
Sony produced computers during the 1980s. The company withdrew from the computer business around 1990. Sony entered again into the global computer market under the new VAIO brand, began in 1996. Short for "Video Audio Integrated Operation", the line was the first computer brand to highlight visual-audio features.
Sony launched in 1998, their Memory Stick format, flash memory cards for use in Sony lines of digital cameras and portable music players. It has seen little support outside of Sony's own products, with Secure Digital cards (SD) commanding considerably greater popularity.
The company then introduced the BRAVIA name. BRAVIA is an in house brand owned by Sony which produces high-definition LCD televisions, projection TVs and front projectors, home cinemas and the BRAVIA home theatre range. All Sony high-definition flat-panel LCD televisions in North America have carried the logo for BRAVIA since 2005. Sony is the third-largest maker of televisions in the world. As of 2012, Sony's television business has been unprofitable for eight years.
Sony was one of the leading developers of the Blu-ray optical disc format, the newest standard for disc-based content delivery. The first Blu-ray players became commercially available in 2006. The format emerged as the standard for HD media over the competing format, Toshiba's HD DVD, after a two-year-long high-definition optical disc format war.
On 4 February 2014, Sony announced that it would sell its VAIO PC business due to poor sales and Japanese company Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) will purchase the VAIO brand, with the deal finalized by the end of March 2014. Sony maintains a minority stake in the new, independent company.
On 18 March 2014, at GDC, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida announced their new virtual reality technology dubbed Project Morpheus, and later named PlayStation VR, for PlayStation 4.The headset brought VR gaming and non-gaming software to the company's console. According to a report released by Houston-based patent consulting firm LexInnova in May 2015, Sony is leading the virtual reality patent race. According to the firm's analysis of nearly 12,000 patents or patent applications, Sony has 366 virtual reality patents or patent applications. PlayStation VR was released worldwide on 13 October 2016.