'

Sony

Best remembered as the inventor of the Walkman, Sony today has a finger in almost every pie.

Think of Sony and some of the things that come immediately to mind are the Walkman music player and the Playstation game console.

Sony first began life in 1946 as a brainchild of Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita, and it was then known as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering. It only formally became Sony, a mix of the Latin word "sonus" (meaning sound) and English word "sunny", in 1958.

Best remembered as the inventor of the Walkman, the first portable personal music player introduced in 1979, Sony today has a finger in almost every pie, ranging from television and LCD monitors to desktops and notebook PCs.

However, the company has faced some of its toughest battles in recent years, including pressures from other LCD makers and its battle with Apple Computer for dominance in the MP3 player market.

Still, the company is not giving up without a fight, with CEO Howard Stringer vowing to "fight like the Sony warriors that [they] are". Wielding a broad sword, Stringer slashed 10,000 jobs and closed down 11 manufacturing plants in a bid to remain competitive.

The company is also focused on beating off competition from Microsoft's Xbox 360 with updates to its Playstation game console. Sony also plans to push for the Blu-ray disc to be used as the standard for the next-generation of DVD.