Norio Ohga, a former Sony CEO and Chairman who helped make Sony the company we know today, passed away in Tokyo yesterday as a result of multiple organ failure. He was 81.
During his tenure as both Sony executive and man in charge, Ohga helped bring about changes both in-house and outside Sony's walls that are still felt to this day. A trained musician, he pushed hard for the compact disc format early in its development. According to their release:
Mr. Ohga was also a man of vision and foresight. Anticipating the future potential of compact optical disc formats, he personally drove Sony's initiatives to explore this new frontier. During the development of the CD, it was Mr. Ohga's instincts as a trained musician that led him to push for a 12 centimeter format, providing sufficient recording capacity at 75 minutes to enable listeners to enjoy all of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony without interruption. These negotiations resulted in the CD specifications still in use today. After Sony commercialized the world's first CD in 1982, sales grew rapidly, and by 1987, CDs had overtaken LP record sales in Japan, changing the way people listened to music. Mr. Ohga's efforts to establish the CD format also contributed to the launch of subsequent optical disc formats such as the MD, CD-ROM and the DVD, which not only revolutionized the consumer electronics and music recording industries, but also other areas of technology, such as computer memory and game software.
He was also instrumental in the creation of Sony Music, Sony Pictures, and Sony Computer Entertainment, making it safe to say that media at large would look a whole lot different today if not for his influence. As such a big name in tech, he will truly be missed. [Engadget]