Morita, Akio

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Morita, Akio

Akio Morita (äk´ēō môr´ētä), 1921–99, Japanese business executive, b. Nagoya, Japan. The eldest son of a successful sake brewer, Morita joined Masaru Ibuka to found Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering in 1946. To pursue their strategy of introducing innovative products, they bought rights to the transistor from General Electric and in 1957 introduced a pocket-sized transistor radio. They renamed the company Sony in 1958 and became one of the world's largest electronics corporations. They introduced such consumer electronics products as the Walkman, the compact disc player (created with Philips), the Trinitron television, and the digital audio tape player. In the 1960s, Morita set up the Sony Corporation of America and in 1971, Sony became the first Japanese electronics company to manufacture television sets in the United States. Morita became Sony's president in 1971 and chairman in 1976. As part of the company's strategy to acquire entertainment programming (software) that can be played on its electronics products (hardware), Sony purchased CBS records for $2 billion in 1987 and paid $3.4 billion for the Columbia Pictures Entertainment group in 1989. Morita retired as Sony's chairman in 1994.

See his autobiography, Made in Japan (1986).

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