Day 25 – Akio Morita
Akio Morita (盛田 昭夫) was a Japanese businessman and co-founder of Sony along with Masaru Ibuka. On May 7, 1946, Morita and Ibuka founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation, the forerunner of Sony Corporation) with about 20 employees and initial capital of ¥190,000. Ibuka was 38 years old, Morita, 25. Morita's family invested in Sony during the early period and was the largest shareholder.
In 1949, the company developed magnetic recording tape and in 1950, sold the first tape recorder in Japan. In 1957, it produced a pocket-sized radio (the first to be fully transistorized), and in 1958, Morita and Ibuka decided to rename their company Sony (derived from "sonus"--Latin for "sound"—and Sonny-boys the most common American expression). Morita was an advocate for all the products made by the Sony. However, since the radio was slightly too big to fit in a shirt pocket, Morita made his employees wear shirts with slightly larger pockets to give the radio a "pocket sized" appearance. In 1960, it produced the first transistor television in the world. In 1973, Sony received an Emmy Award for its Trinitron television-set technology. In 1975, it released the first Betamax home video recorder, a year before VHS format came out. In 1979, the Walkman was introduced, making it the world's first portable music player. In 1984, Sony launched the Discman series which extended their Walkman brand to portable CD products.
In 1960, the Sony Corporation of America (SONAM, currently abbreviated as SCA) was established in the United States. In 1961, Sony Corporation was the first Japanese company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in the form of American depositary receipts (ADRs), which are traded over-the-counter. Sony bought CBS Records Group which consisted of Columbia Records, Epic Records and other CBS labels in 1988 and Columbia Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and others) in 1989.
On November 25, 1994, Morita stepped down as Sony chairman after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while playing tennis. He was succeeded by Norio Ohga, who had joined the company in the 1950s after sending Morita a letter denouncing the poor quality of the company's tape recorders.