Sony got its start in 1946, just after World War II , when Masaru Ibuka founded an electronics store in a bombed-out department store in Tokyo. Among other achievements, they were responsible for building Japan's very first tape recorder.
Back then, the company was known as "Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo"; they changed their name to Sony in 1958 after expanding. The name Sony comes from the mixture of the Latin word "Sonus" (meaning sonic or sound) and the American term "Sonny" (colloquialism for a young boy).
With the advent of the electronic component known as the transistor, Sony was able to manufacture small, portable radios that it sold to American teenagers. Over the years Sony has been responsible for many of the common devices we've been using in our day to day lives, such as floppy discs, compact discs, Blu-Ray, and of course the Walkman, the first personal portable tape player.
They were also responsible for Betamax video-tape players, which were of a higher quality, but ultimately lost out to VHS. It should be said however, that the Betacam format was (and still is) widely used in the television industry.
Sony's first foray in the video games market was actually with Nintendo back in 1988 when they worked on a joint project to create a CD ROM drive for the yet unreleased Super Famicom (SNES). Actual working prototypes were made, and even debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991. But one day after the show, Nintendo dissolved their partnership with Sony and chose to go with Phillips instead (their partnership also broke down, resulting in the CD-i console and some truly awful Zelda games).
Then-president of Sony, Norio Ohga, was reportedly furious at the termination of the partnership and got Ken Kutaragi to develop the PlayStation Project in order to compete against Nintendo.
In 1993, Sony formed Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. which at the time was more closely associated with Sony Music (a separate financial entity) than to main branch of...