Akio Morita - Sony’s Co-founder: Biography


Well, nearly half of the people in the world would opt ‘SONY’ for electronic gadgets & devices for its performance and reliability, leading to No.1 Consumer Brand company in the world. After the World War II, credits to Sony for being the regal company uplifting Japan. The brand and the credence of the people towards it is what thriving it to be the best in its realm. But it all started from a radio repair company is the fact, that is unforeseen. The creation of such a milestone owes to Akio Morita who co-founded the company with Masaru Ibuka back in 1940s.


"It had to be something different, something that nobody else was making"

-Akio Morita


Let’s get into the biography of its co-founder Akio Morita, in this blog!




20 Points on Sony’s Co-founder: Akio Morita


  • Akio Morita was born on January 26, 1921 in Nagoya, Aichi, Japan to a soya-sauce production family. Requested to join the family business, Morita refused it and had concern in mathematics and physics.


  • Morita also had curiosity on electronic products, that made to experiment and build his own ham radio, during his school days. He in 1944 conferred degree in physics from Osaka Imperial University.


  • Morita was a sub-Lieutenant in Imperial Japan Navy, later served for World War II, where he met & friended his future business partner Masaru Ibuka, electronics engineer in the Wartime Research Committee.


Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka

  • In the rear of the war, Morita worked as a physics professor. During the time, he saw a newspaper article on new venture by his Wartime friend Masaru Ibuka on bombed out Tokyo. The radio-repair shop of Ibuka, snowed Morita as a business and after some correspondence, joined in hands with Ibuka.


  • In 1946, Morita and Ibuka consolidated a new company called “Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation”, with just 20 employees and $1700 capital from Morita’s father, the fore-runner of Sony.




  • The company pulled off magnetic recording tape in 1949 and launched the first Tape Recorder in Japan in 1950. This was a wink-win for the company that prop up for many developments.


  • Ibuka was in securing the label rights for employing transistor from Bell Labs in 1950s and achieved it, making the first company to include transistor for creations behind military’s use.


  • In 1957, the company’s Pocket Sized Radio created a huge demand amidst the people. In fact, though not sized to a pocket, Morita advertised it with shirts stitched with larger pockets to be compatible with the device, making lemonade with the lemon.


  • Akio Morita renamed the company as “SONY”, derived from a latin word “sonus”, meaning ‘sound’. That’s how Sony was officially born in 1958. From its origin 1950, to 1971, Ibuka was made the President of the company.



  • Akio Morita preferred to unfurl the products to all around the world and in the process founded Sony Corporation of America (SONAM) in 1960. For this, when he left to America, experienced an exigency to leg the firm amidst the American Companies, which is of high standard and competency. Returning to Japan, Morita made an announcement for the middle-aged people about their level and reconsidering their careers and joining Sony. This inspired the people and other fellow company leaders to strive hard.


  • In 1961, Sony became the first Japanese Company to get listed in New York Stock Exchange in American Depository Receipts (ADRs).


  • Sony conjoined with Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) records for the software creation of Sony’s hardware products. Sony later bought the CBS Records group for $2 billion in 1988.


  • In 1971, Ibuka replaced the President of Sony to Akio Morita. One of the secrets of Sony's success was Akio Morita's dedication to "staying two steps ahead of the competition" in the development of new products. As a result, Sony boasts many industry firsts, including:


  • The first AM transistor radio

  • The first pocket-sized transistor radio


  • The first two-band transistor radio

  • The first FM transistor radio

  • The first all-transistor television set

  • The first Betamax home-use VCR in 1975


  • The first 8 mm video camera

  • The first portable Music player – Walkman in 1979


  • The first Compact Disc player in 1981

  • The first 3.5” Floppy disk in 1981

  • The first portable CD player – Discman in 1984.



  • Morita’s vision expanded the company into new businesses and ventures. In 1989, Sony bought Columbia Pictures Entertainment for $3.4 Billion.


  • Morita stepped down the President post to Norio Ohga in 1989 and as Chairman to Ohga itself in 1994. The times of Norio Ohga was greatly responsible for the Sony Computer Entertainment, that came out with the grand winning “Playstation”.


  • In 1966, Akio Morita authored “Never Mind School Records”, a book implicating that school records are not so vital for one’s success and business skills and life. In 1986, he made an auto-biography titled, “Made in Japan”.



  • Morita went through a cerebral hemorrhage in 1993 while playing tennis. Later in October 3, 1999, he died of pneumonia, aged 78.


  • Morita was the Vice Chairman of the Japan Business Federation. He and Sony were the incredible beams of the country, when the nation had an economic overthrow after World War II. He was too, one of the members of “Wise Men’s Group”.



Epilogue:


The success of the vision and mission of the co-founders is visible from every household that owns Sony products, atleast single. Morita’s view of the company and world had implanted the earth with thoughts of “Best for best”. Unless, you give the best out of you, in pursuit of growth in even seconds, best won’t knocks you.


"Our plan is to lead the public with new products rather than ask them what kind of products they want. The public does not know what is possible, but we do."

-Akio Morita

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