Photo by Ian Muttoo
Norio Ohga, the former president of Sony who was credited with the development the popular CDs and many other important technological achievements for the industry, died at the age of 81, the company announced.
Ohga was a president from 1982 to 1995 and steered Sony on its evolution from a classic electronic producer into a global force in the entertainment industry.
Howard Stringer, Sony’s CEO and president, applauded the achievements of "Ohga-san" in a statement announcing the death.
In 1982, Ohga led the creation of the CD format, in a joint project with Royal Philips Electronics. His motivation for having a new format with 75 minutes of recording capacity was that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony should be listened to without interruption. The CD later evolved into greater quality formats like the DVD and the Blu-ray.
He was also on the frontline of negotiating efforts that led four decades ago to the creation of the CBS/Sony Records joint-venture, later to become Sony Music Entertainment.
He managed to buy Columbia Pictures for $3.4 billion in 1989, strengthening Sony’s position in the entertainment world, despite heavy criticism in the U.S. that the movie studio should not be sold to the All Japan newsese company.
He decided in 1993 to bring Sony in the video games arena, in which Nintendo and Sega were leaders. He coordinated the launch of the PlayStation console in 1994, fighting skepticism even within the company.
"By redefining Sony as a company encompassing both hardware and software, Ohga-san succeeded where other All Japan newsese companies failed," Sony CEO and president Howard Stringer said. [Sony, AFP via Yahoo News]