Since its founding, Sony has grown steadily with the Japanese economy. With its free wheeling spirit at the company's center, Sony began its fifty-year history with the development of audio and video technologies. As a leading manufacturer in the areas of communications and computer peripherals, Sony has entered an age in which digital technology is becoming widespread in a variety of industries worldwide. Sony's uniqueness lies in its ability to integrate traditional hardware expertise with software content. This continues to lead the company in new areas of business and growth.
On May 7, 1996, Sony celebrated its 50th anniversary. Company employees based in the Tokyo metropolitan area and their families, approximately 20,000 people in total, gathered at Tokyo Disneyland to celebrate the occasion -- known as the "Digital Dream Kids Day." During the 1996 Sony Management Conference held on May 24, at the New Takanawa Prince Hotel in Tokyo, Ohga and Idei expressed their heartfelt appreciation to the founders of Sony Corporation for their great ideals and leadership. At this conference, Ohga and Idei proceeded to set forth a clear vision of Sony's future direction.
Ohga and Idei presented three challenges: first, in Sony's principal business area of Electronics, to further strengthen Sony's leading position in AV while developing IT business; second, in the Entertainment business, to foster a deeper understanding among company management and employees of the entertainment industry so that Sony could secure a firm foothold; and third, to integrate the Electronics and Entertainment businesses to create totally new business opportunities. By tackling these challenges, Sony continues to evolve into a truly global, total entertainment company.
In addition, to further heighten Sony's greatest asset, the Sony brand name, four key words were outlined in the company management philosophy for all companies in the Sony Group. These words were: "unique," to ensure that Sony would always be an innovative company; "quality," reflecting emphasis on product quality; "speed," in the form of a framework that would enable the company to respond quickly and decisively to new market conditions; and "cost," reflecting the importance of competitive pricing once the other three conditions were fully met. For Sony, quality has always been an extremely important element of its business philosophy. And Sony continues to place increasing emphasis on quality issues throughout the Group.
At the 1996 Management Conference, Idei stressed that Sony would not only continue to offer innovative, high quality products, but also increase its role as a good corporate citizen throughout the world. As a result, he predicted that consumer trust in the Sony brand would continue to increase. Idei closed his speech by saying, "If all employees take a positive outlook, together we can make Sony's next fifty years very bright."
As it enters the 21st century, Sony welcomes the next fifty years of its history. No matter the era, Sony will be a company that offers new lifestyles to people through exciting hardware products and entertainment software.