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Akio Morita founded the Sony Corporation in 1946. Akio was born in 1921. The Sony headquarters are situated in Tokyo. Sony was first known as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation and changed its name to Sony in 1958. In 1960 it established the Sony Corporation of America in New York City and Sony S.A. in Switzerland. In 1961 Sony became the first Japan-based company to offer its shares on the United States stock market. Sony has affiliates and subsidiaries in North, Central, and South America; Europe; the Middle East; Asia; and Australia.

Sony designs, manufactures, and sells electronic equipment. It is a leader in the development of consumer electronics goods such as videocassette recorders, compact disk equipment, and television systems. In the late 1970 s it introduced the "Walkman," a portable headset stereo system, and later the "Watchman," a television small enough to be worn as a wristwatch. Sony's Betamax, with the Beta videotape format, was the first home videotape recorder on the market, but the system became replaced by the VHS videotape format marketed by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA); the VHS format became the industry videotape standard. Sony's Beta cam system, however, is now the standard in commercial broadcasting equipment.

Morita's philosophy still guides the company. Innovation, which Sony actively encourages from its employees, is one of the basic tenets of this philosophy. Design engineers are given budgets and time for innovation and experimentation. The company holds an annual contest in which engineers show off their prototypes; bonuses are awarded to those whose prototypes are selected for eventual manufacture and marketing. Sony continuously makes and offers new products, most of which are tested in the Japanese market. Sony has been particularly successful in the United States market; however, the Japanese giant Matsushita outsells it in Japan and elsewhere.

With the acquisition of CBS Records, Inc. in 1988 and Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. in 1989, Sony became a major force in the recording, movie, and television production industries. Sony is also active in the computer industry, with products for information processing and storage, and in telecommunications, producing answering machines, cordless telephones for the home, and cellular mobile telephones.