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Toshiba Corporation (株式会社東芝 Kabushiki-gaisha Tōshiba ?) (TYO: 6502) is a Japanese multinational conglomerate manufacturing company, headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. The company's businesses are in high technology, electrical engineering and electronics fields.
Toshiba-made Semiconductors are among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.
Additional recommended knowledge
Toshiba was founded by the merging of two companies in 1939.
One, Tanaka Seizosho (Tanaka Engineering Works), was Japan's first manufacturer of telegraph equipment and was established by Hisashige Tanaka in 1875. In 1904, its name was changed to Shibaura Seisakusho (Shibaura Engineering Works). Through the first part of the 20th century, Shibaura Engineering Works became a major manufacturer of heavy electrical machinery as Japan, modernized during the Meiji Era, and became a world industrial power.
The second company, Hakunetsusha, was established in 1890 and was Japan's first producer of incandescent electric lamps. It diversified into the manufacture of other consumer products and in 1899 was renamed Tokyo Denki (Tokyo Electric).
The merger in 1939 of Shibaura Seisakusho and Tokyo Denki created a new company called Tokyo Shibaura Denki. It was soon nicknamed Toshiba, but it wasn't until 1984 that the company was officially renamed Toshiba Corporation.
The group expanded strongly, both by internal growth and by acquisitions, buying heavy engineering and primary industry firms in the 1940s and 1950s and then spinning off subsidiaries in the 1970s and beyond. Groups created include Toshiba EMI (1960), Toshiba Electrical Equipment (1974), Toshiba Chemical (1974), Toshiba Lighting and Technology (1989), Toshiba America Information Systems (1989) and Toshiba Carrier Corporation (1999).
Toshiba was responsible for a number of Japanese firsts, including radar (1942), the TAC digital computer (1954), transistor television and microwave oven (1959), color video phone (1971), Japanese word processor (1978), MRI system (1982), laptop personal computer (1986), NAND EEPROM (1991), DVD (1995), the Libretto sub-notebook personal computer (1996) and HD DVD (2005).
In 1987, the company was accused of illegally selling CNC milling machines used to produce very quiet submarine propellers to the Soviet Union in violation of the CoCom agreement, an international embargo on Western exports to East Bloc countries. The Toshiba-Kongsberg scandal involved a subsidiary of Toshiba and the Norwegian company Kongsberg Vaapenfabrikk. The incident strained relations between the United States and Japan, and resulted in the arrest and prosecution of two senior executives, as well as the imposition of sanctions on the company by both countries. The US had always relied on the fact that the Soviets had noisy boats, so technology that would make the USSR's submarines harder to detect created a significant threat to America's security. Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania said "What Toshiba and Kongsberg did was ransom the security of the United States for $517 million."
In 2001, Toshiba signed a contract with Orion Electric, one of the world's largest OEM consumer video electronic makers and suppliers, to manufacture and supply finished consumer TV and video products for Toshiba to meet the increasing demand for the North American market.
In December 2004, Toshiba quietly announced it would discontinue manufacturing traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions. In 2006, Toshiba terminated production of plasma TVs. Toshiba quickly switched to Orion as the supplier and maker of Toshiba-branded CRT-based TVs and plasma TVs. However, to ensure its future competitiveness in the flat-panel digital television and display market, Toshiba has made a considerable investment in a new kind of display technology called SED.
Before World War II, Toshiba was a member of the Mitsui Group zaibatsu. Today Toshiba is a member of the Mitsui keiretsu (a set of companies with interlocking business relationships and shareholdings), and still has preferential arrangements with Mitsui Bank and the other members of the keiretsu. Membership in a keiretsu traditionally meant loyalty, both corporate and private, to other members of the keiretsu or allied keiretsu. This loyalty could extend as far as the beer that workers would consume, which in Toshiba's case was Asahi.
In July 2005, BNFL confirmed it planned to sell Westinghouse Electric Company, then estimated to be worth $1.8bn (£1bn). However the bid attracted interest from several companies including Toshiba, General Electric and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and when the Financial Times reported on January 23, 2006 that Toshiba had won the bid, it valued the company's offer at $5bn (£2.8bn). The bid surprised many industry experts who questioned the wisdom of selling one of the world's largest producers of nuclear reactors shortly before the market for nuclear power is expected to grow substantially; China, the United States and the United Kingdom are all expected to invest heavily in nuclear power . The acquisition of Westinghouse for $5.4bn was completed on October 17, 2006, with Toshiba obtaining a 77% share, and partners The Shaw Group a 20% share and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. a 3% share
As a chip maker, Toshiba Semiconductors is a major player. During the eighties, it was one the two largest semiconductor companies (with NEC). During the nineties and up to now, Toshiba Semiconductors was almost always among the Top 5. In 2005, Toshiba Semiconductors is number 4, behind Intel, Samsung and Texas Instruments, but before STMicroelectronics.
For more information, refer to the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Market Share Ranking Year by Year.
Toshiba scored reasonably well according to New England-based environmental organization Clean Air-Cool Planet report, which surveys 56 companies for their climate-friendliness. The survey checks on how well a company had reviewed its global warming impact, how much it had reduced that impact, how much it supported public policies that encourage this reduction and whether the company made this information available.
After an image problem developed years ago when customers felt that the repair process for broken machines was too long, Toshiba partnered with the United Parcel Service (UPS) to design a better repair process. Customers are told to drop off their machines at a UPS Store, from which they will be shipped to Toshiba for repairs and then sent back to the customer. In reality, after dropping off their machines at a UPS Store, they are shipped off to a UPS-run repair facility, where UPS repairs the laptops themselves and ships them back to the customer from there. During this process, the laptops never enter Toshiba's hands although no such claim as such is ever purported. 
Notes and references
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Toshiba". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|