Published Apr 25, 2011Norio Ohga, the former president and chairman of Sony who spearheaded the development of the compact disc, has died. According to reports from the BBC, he passed away in Tokyo, Japan due to multiple organ failure. He was 81.
Ohga ran Sony from 1982 to 1995 after becoming an executive in his 30s. From there, he helped pioneer compact disc technology, with Sony selling the world's first CDs in 1982 and the format eventually overtaking the LP. Ohga was also responsible for pushing for the CD's 12 cm diameter. His reasoning was that it would provide the 75 minutes required to store Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Along with the CD's development, Ohga was involved with Sony's multibillion dollar purchase of Columbia Pictures and Sony's gaming branch, which eventually resulted in the Sony PlayStation console. "It is no exaggeration to attribute Sony's evolution beyond audio and video products into music, movies and game, and subsequent transformation into a global entertainment leader to Ohga-san's foresight and vision," said current Sony chairman Howard Stringer.
In 1995, Ohga stepped down as Sony's president and stayed on as chairman and representative director until 2000. From there, he worked as a senior advisor at the company until his death.