Sony Group Corporation

Sony Group Corporation

Sony Group Corporation, commonly known as Sony and stylized as SONY, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Konan, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. As a major technology company, it is one of the world's largest consumer and professional electronics manufacturers, the largest game console company, and the largest video game publisher. Through Sony Entertainment Inc, it is one of the largest music companies (the largest music publisher and the second largest record label) and the third largest film studio, making it one of the most extensive media companies. It is the largest technology and media conglomerate in Japan. It is also recognized as the richest Japanese company with net cash reserves of 2 trillion yen.

Sony, with its 55 percent market share in the image sensor market, is the largest image sensor manufacturer, the second largest camera manufacturer, and one of the top semiconductor sellers. It is the world's largest player in the premium TV market for TVs sized at least 55 inches (140 centimeters) priced over $2,500, as well as the second largest TV brand by market share and, as of 2020, the third largest TV manufacturer. in the world in terms of annual sales.

Sony Group Corporation is the holding company of the Sony Group, which includes Sony Corporation, Sony Semiconductor Solutions, Sony Entertainment (Sony Pictures, Sony Music), Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Financial Group, Sony Creative Products 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), (2005-2009), make.believe (2009-2013) and Be Moved (2013-2021) . ).

Sony has a loose association with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), the successor to Mitsui keiretsu. Sony is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (where it is listed on the Nikkei 225 and TOPIX Core30) with an additional listing of American Depository Receipts listed on the New York Stock Exchange (traded since 1970, making it the oldest Japanese company listed on the US exchange), and was ranked 88th on the 2021 Fortune Global 500 list.


Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo

Sony began operations after World War II. In 1946, Masaru Ibuka opened an electronics store in Shirokiya, a department store building in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. The company started with a capital of 190,000 yen and a total of eight employees. On May 7, 1946, Akio Morita joined Ibuka to found a company called Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo (東京通信工業, Tōkyō Tsūshin Kōgyō) (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.


When Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo was looking for a romanized name to use for marketing, they seriously considered using their initials, TTK. The main reason they didn't do this is because the Tokyo Kyuko Railway Company was known as TTK. The company sometimes used the abbreviation "Totsuko" in Japan, but during his visit to the United States, Morita found that the name was difficult for Americans to pronounce. Another early name that was tried for a while was "Tokyo Teletech" until Akio Morita discovered that there was an American company already using Teletech as a trademark.

The name "Sony" was chosen for the brand as a mixture of two words: one was the Latin word "sonus", which is the root of sound and sound, and the other was "sonny", a common slang term used in the 1950s. America to name a boy. In Japan in the 1950s, the word "sonny boy" was borrowed from the Japanese language and referred to the smart and presentable young people that Sony founders Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka considered themselves to be.

The first Sony-branded product, the TR-55 transistor radio, appeared in 1955, but the company's name did not change to Sony until January 1958.

During the change, it was highly unusual for a Japanese company to use Latin letters to write its name instead of writing it in kanji. The move did not go unopposed: TTC's main bank, Mitsui at the time, was strongly in favor of the name. They insisted on a name like Sony Electronic Industries or Sony Teletech. However, Akio Morita was firm as he did not want the company's name to be tied to any particular industry. In the end, Ibuka and the chairman of Mitsui Bank gave their consent.


According to Schiffer, the Sony TR-63 radio "opened up the US market and started a new consumer microelectronics industry." By the mid-1950s, American teenagers began buying portable transistor radios in huge quantities, which helped propel the nascent industry from about 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 US companies, which was unheard of in Japan at the time. When he returned to Japan, he encouraged experienced middle-aged employees from other companies to reconsider their careers and consider working at Sony. In this way, the company filled many positions and inspired other Japanese companies to do the same. Moreover, Sony played an important role in Japan's development as a powerful exporter in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. It also helped greatly improve Americans' perception of "made in Japan" products. Known for its product quality, Sony was able to charge above market prices for its consumer electronics and resisted price cuts.

In 1971, Masaru Ibuka handed over the presidency to his co-founder Akio Morita. Sony founded a life insurance company in 1979, one of its many side businesses. During the global recession in the early 1980s, electronics sales fell and the company was forced to cut prices. Sony's profits plummeted. "It's all over for Sony," concluded one analyst. "The best days of the company are over."

Around the same time, Norio Oga assumed the presidency. He encouraged the development of the compact disc (CD) in the 1970s and 1980s and the PlayStation in the early 1990s. Oga then bought CBS Records in 1988 and Columbia Pictures in 1989, greatly expanding Sony's presence in the media. Oga succeeded Morita as chief executive officer in 1989.

According to the vision of co-founder Akio Morita and his successors, the company expanded aggressively through new lines of business. This was partly motivated by a desire for "convergence", linking movies, music, and digital electronics over the Internet. This expansion proved unprofitable and unprofitable, threatening Sony's ability to charge extra for its products as well as its brand name. In 2005, Howard Stringer replaced Nobuyuki Eden as CEO, marking the first time a foreigner had run a major Japanese electronics company. Stringer helped revitalize the company's struggling media business, encouraging blockbusters like Spider-Man while cutting 9,000 jobs. He hoped to sell off the peripheral business and refocus the company on electronics. Furthermore, he sought to increase collaboration between business units, which he called "bunkers", operating in isolation from each other. In an effort to provide a single brand for its global operations, in 2009 Sony introduced a slogan known as "make.believe".

Despite some success, the company faced continued difficulties in the mid to late 2000s. In 2012, Kazuo Hirai was named President and CEO, replacing Stringer. Shortly thereafter, Hirai laid out his company-wide initiative called "One Sony" to revive Sony after years of financial losses and a bureaucratic management structure that former CEO Stringer found difficult to execute, due in part to differences in business culture and native languages ​​between the two. Stringer and certain Japanese divisions and subsidiaries of Sony. Hirai outlined Sony's three main areas of business in electronics, including imaging technology, gaming and mobile technology, and a focus on reducing major losses from the television business.

In February 2014, Sony announced the sale of its Vaio PC division to a new corporation owned by investment fund Japan Industrial Partners and the transformation of its television division into its own corporation to make it more flexible to recover the division from past losses totaling 7.8 billion dollars. over ten years. Later that month, they announced that they would be closing 20 stores. In April, the company announced that it would sell 9.5 million Square Enix shares (roughly 8.2% of the gaming company's total shares) in a deal valued at about $48 million. In May 2014, the company announced two joint ventures with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group to manufacture and sell Sony PlayStation video game consoles and related software in China.

In 2015, Sony acquired Toshiba's image sensor business.

In December 2016, several news outlets reported that Sony was considering restructuring its US operations by merging its Sony Pictures Entertainment TV and film business with Sony Interactive Entertainment's games business. According to reports, such a restructuring would bring Sony Pictures under Sony Interactive CEO Andrew House, although House would not take over the studio's day-to-day operations. According to one report, Sony had to make a final decision about the possibility of merging the television, film and games business by the end of the financial year in March of the following (2017) year.

In 2017, Sony sold its lithium-ion battery business to Murata Manufacturing.

In 2019, Sony merged its mobile device, TV and camera business.

On April 1, 2020, Sony Electronics Corporation was established as an intermediate holding company that will own and control its electronics and IT solutions business.

On May 19, 2020, the company announced that it will be renaming Sony Group Corporation effective April 1, 2021. Subsequently, Sony Electronics Corporation will be renamed Sony Corporation. On the same day, the company announced that it would turn Sony Financial Holdings (now Sony Financial Group), in which Sony already owns a 65.06% stake, into a wholly owned subsidiary through a takeover bid.

On April 1, 2021, Sony Corporation was renamed Sony Group Corporation. On the same day, Sony Mobile Communications Inc. acquired 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 known for creating its own standards for new recording and storage technologies rather than adopting standards from other manufacturers and standards bodies, while its success in the early years is due to the smooth capitalization of the compact cassette standard introduced by Philips. with whom Sony has developed longstanding technological relationships in various fields. Sony (on its own or with partners) has introduced some of the most popular recording formats, including 3.5-inch floppy disks, CDs and Blu-ray discs.

Video recording

Sony introduced U-matic, the world's first videocassette format, in 1971, but the standard was unpopular for home use due to its high cost. The company subsequently launched the Betamax format in 1975. Sony got involved in the videotape format war in the early 1980s when they marketed the Betamax system for VCRs against the VHS format developed by JVC. Eventually, VHS achieved critical mass in the marketplace and became the worldwide standard for consumer VCRs.

Betamax is, for all practical purposes, an obsolete format. Sony's professional-oriented component video format called Betacam, a derivative of Betamax, was used until 2016, when Sony announced that it would discontinue all remaining 1/2-inch VCRs and players, including the Digital Betacam format.

In 1985, Sony released their Handycam products and the Video8 format. Video8 and the subsequent Hi-Band Hi8 format became popular in the consumer camcorder market. In 1987, Sony released 4mm DAT or Digital Audio Tape as the new digital audio cassette standard.

Visual display

Sony held the patent for their own Trinitron until 1996.

Sony introduced Triluminos Display, the company's patented color enhancement technology, in 2004, which was used in the world's first LED-backlit LCD TVs. It has also been widely used in other Sony products including computer monitors, laptops and smartphones. In 2013, Sony released a new line of TVs with an improved version of the technology that included quantum dots in the backlight system. This was the first commercial use of quantum dots.

In 2012, the company unveiled a prototype of an ultra-thin RGB LED display that it called Crystal LED Display.

Audio recording

Sony used the compact cassette format in many of its tape recorders and players, including the Walkman, the world's first portable music player. Sony introduced the MiniDisc format in 1992 as an alternative to the Philips DCC or digital compact cassette and as a successor to the compact cassette. Since the advent of the MiniDisc, Sony has tried to market its own audio compression technologies under the ATRAC brand in place of the more widely used MP3. Until the end of 2004, Sony's Network Walkman line of digital portable music players did not natively support the MP3 standard.

In 2004, Sony expanded on the MiniDisc format with the release of Hi-MD. Hi-MD allows you to play and record audio on the new 1GB Hi-MD discs in addition to playing and recording on regular MDs. In addition to storing sound on discs, Hi-MD allows you to store computer files such as documents, videos, and photos.

Audio encoding

In 1993, Sony challenged the industry standard Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound format with the release of a new and improved proprietary digital movie audio format called SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound). This format used eight channels (7.1) of sound, rather than the six used by Dolby Digital 5.1 at the time. Ultimately, SDDS was largely superseded by the preferred DTS (Digital Theater System) and Dolby Digital standards in the film industry. SDDS was developed exclusively for cinema use; Sony never intended to develop a home theater version of SDDS.

Sony and Philips have jointly developed the Sony-Philips Digital Interface Format (S/PDIF) and the high-quality SACD audio system. The latter is bogged down in a format war with DVD-Audio. However, none of them received serious support from the general public. Consumers preferred CDs due to the ubiquity of CD drives in consumer devices until the early 2000s when iPods and streaming services became available.

In 2015, Sony introduced LDAC, a proprietary audio coding technology that allows high-definition audio streaming over Bluetooth connections at up to 990 kbps at 32 bit/96 kHz. Sony has also made it available as part of the Android open source project starting with Android 8.0 "Oreo", allowing every OEM to freely integrate the standard into their own Android devices. However, the decoder library is proprietary, so licenses are required for receiving devices. On September 17, 2019, the Japan Audio Society (JAS) certified LDAC with its Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification. Currently, the only codecs with Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification are LDAC and LHDC, another competing standard.

Optical memory

Sony demonstrated the optical digital audio disc in 1977 and soon teamed up with Philips, another major storage technology contender, to set the world standard. In 1983, the two companies jointly announced the compact disc (CD). In 1984, Sony released the Discman series, an extension of the Walkman brand to portable CD players. Sony began to improve the performance and capacity of the new format. It released write-once optical discs (WO) and magneto-optical discs around 125 MB for special use for archival data storage in 1986 and 1988 respectively.

In the early 1990s, two high-density optical storage standards were being developed, one was the MultiMedia Compact Disc (MMCD) supported by Philips and Sony, and the other was the Super Density Disc (SD) supported by Toshiba and many others. . Philips and Sony abandoned their MMCD format and agreed on the Toshiba SD format with only one modification. The single disc format was called DVD and was introduced in 1997.

Sony was one of the leading developers of the Blu-ray optical disc format, the latest disc-based content delivery standard. The first Blu-ray players became commercially available in 2006. This format has become the standard for HD media over its rival format, Toshiba's HD DVD, after a two-year high-definition optical disc format war.

Sony's laser communication devices for small satellites are based on technologies developed for the company's optical disc products.

Disk storage

In 1983, Sony introduced the 90 mm microfloppy, better known as 3.5-inch (89 mm) floppy disks, which it developed at a time when 4-inch floppy disks and many variations from different companies existed to replace floppy disks of the day. - running 5.25-inch floppy disks. Sony was a great success and the format became dominant. 3.5-inch floppy disks have gradually become obsolete as modern media formats have replaced them. Sony held over 70 percent of the market when it decided to phase out the format in 2010.

Flash memory

In 1998, Sony launched the Memory Stick format, flash memory cards for use in Sony's line of digital cameras and portable music players. It has received little support outside of Sony's own products, with Secure Digital (SD) cards enjoying significantly more popularity. Sony has updated the Memory Stick format with Memory Stick Duo and Memory Stick Micro. The company also released USB flash drives under the brand name Micro Vault.


Sony introduced FeliCa, a contactless IC card technology primarily used for contactless payments, as a result of the joint development and commercialization of Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology with Philips. The standard is mainly offered in two forms: either chips embedded in smartphones, or plastic cards with embedded chips. Sony plans to bring this technology to rail systems across Asia.

In 2019, Sony launched ELTRES, its own Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) standard.

Continued research and development

In 2021, WIPO's annual World Intellectual Property Index report ranked Sony ninth in the world in terms of the number of patent applications published under the PCT system. In 2020, Sony published 1,793 patent applications. This position is higher than the previous ranking, when it was ranked 13th in 2019 with 1,566 entries.