My entrepreneur of choice for this assignment is the founders of the Sony Corporation, Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita. Theirs is a story of determination, vision and strong will, that has seen them build one of the largest technology giants in the world today. Sony is today a conglomerate corporation that has made its name in the manufacture and distribution of video, electronic, Information technology, video game consoles and other communication products all over the world. The company however, did not start in its current level, but has a very rich history. This informed my research into a company that has grown from a small establishment to a global market leader in the electronics and entertainment industry.
The company started out in 1945 in a derelict building in Tokyo Japan, evidence of the effects of the Second World War. Masaru Ibuka started out with a repair shop and was later joined by his colleague, Akio Morita a year later. They together founded the Tokyo Telecommunications engineering corporation
In the early 50’s Ibuka travelled in the US where he discovered the transistor, initially invented by Bell labs. He managed to secure a license to the transistor and therefore applied the license to the communications field. The company made their first commercial transistor radios in Japan in 1955, the TR-55, after which they released the TR-63, the smallest transistor radio of the time, which hit a high of over 5million units in the next 12 years. The company adopted the name Sony in 1958, and what followed is a wealth of invention that drove the company to what it is today (Patricia Marks, 1984).
Some of the most notable acquisitions and joint ventures that form a milestone in the historical development of the company are listed below in a chronological manner.
1988: Sony purchases The CBS Records Group in 1988 and renames it as Sony Music
1989: Sony purchases Columbia pictures entertainment from Coca Cola at a price of $3.4 billion and renames it Sony Pictures entertainment
2001: Ericsson AB and Sony corp. form a joint venture to launch the Sony Ericsson, a fifty- fifty joint venture
2004: Sony corp. teams with Samsung in a joint venture leading to the birth of S-LSD Corporation.
The company continues to grow exponentially with soaring revenues of $70.303 billion in 2007 and posting even better results in the subsequent years and thus it’s one of the richest companies globally.
It has however, not been a very easy sail for the company in a very competitive and very fast changing electronics and information technology industry. Companies that operate in the electronics and entertainment industry appreciate the fast changing nature of technology and its impact on their business. For instance, taking the example of Sony, the original transistor radios are no longer in use, and the company must find ways of ensuring that it stays ahead of the pack by being very innovative in its technology.
The industry is also flooded with many other large global companies who have a geographical presence in almost all continents. These include Samsung Corporation, The Nokia Corporation, Sanyo, LG and other large global industry players.
Companies in this industry must remain innovative so that they can be able to compete favorably in the international arena, failure to which they are easily faced out by competition.
In the face of increasing competition, most of the companies in this industry are diversifying their product offering, while others are even entering into businesses that are not core. For instance, most of the electronics companies are not only investing heavily in the production of cooking and entertainment equipment, but are even going into the manufacture of phone handsets as they purpose to cash in on the growing telecommunications industry in most parts of the world.
One of the most important things that I feel that Sony has done in its many years of operation is the production of quality products that have made our lives worth living. Look in your house for instance; you may realize that most of the products that you use are manufactured by this company. If you have a Sony Experia smart phone, a Sony Bravia LCD-TV, a Sony home theatre, a Sony branded fridge or even micro wave, then you would understand what I mean by Sony making lives better.
The company, through its innovative cutting edge technology has been producing very quality products for our use in everyday life and also for entertainment and this is a very important aspect of the company. Most importantly though is the companies large involvement in helping the needy in its largely expansive corporate social responsibility program (James Lull, 1990. P 16 )
The company has a well documented policy on involvement and support of the needy in the society in which the company has operations. Their most prominent involvement is the company’s policy on maintenance of a very healthy environment, support for the local communities in their initiatives, Ensuring that workers safety and security is given a priority in the company’s operations through intensive training and a health and safety policy that is religiously followed and implemented in the company. And also most importantly, the production of very high quality and safe products.
There are many documented strengths that have always set Sony apart from her competitors. The company is a technology giant, and has invested heavily in cutting edge technology and state of the art facilities in all its operations around the globe. This means that the company produces only very quality products which has endeared it to many a consumer.
The rich history and experience of the company in the industry has informed its many calculated strategic alliances and decisions that have been very beneficial to the company. Its acquisition of many strategically placed companies has enabled the company to diversify from its core electronics business to other related areas such as entertainment and financial services.
Today, the company boasts of being the most innovative, most successful and most diversified global manufacturer of electronics, entertainment and communication equipment in the globe.
Sony Global: History,
James Lull .Inside Family Viewing - Ethnographic research on television audiences, Routledge, London 1990, p 12-15
Patricia Marks. Mind and Media - The effects of television, computer and Video Games - Greenfield, 1984, Fontana.
Sony Global: Products and services. Adopted from http://www.sony.com/