Company History with VHS VCRS:
In the early 1970s Matsushita became deeply involved
in the development of a commercial home
videocassette recording system, or VCR. Matsushita seemed close to an
acceptable design when Akio Tanii, then head of the VCR group, saw what he
believed was a far superior design under development at JVC. Tanii convinced
Matsushita to delay the introduction of a VCR until JVC's Video Home System,
or VHS, could be perfected and adopted. This meant allowing Sony, the
company's largest competitor, to enjoy a one-year monopoly on the market.
Sony refused to share its Betamax VCR technology with
other manufacturers. But Matsushita knew that despite its VCR monopoly, Sony
had a limited VCR production capacity. He gambled that there would be enough
pent-up demand when JVC and Matsushita entered the market for the two
companies to establish VHS as the industry standard. To help this prediction
come true, Matsushita made licensing agreements with RCA, General Electric,
Philips (which had abandoned its own VCR design), NEC, Toshiba, and Sanyo,
all of whom introduced VHS-compatible machines. Sony's Betamax lost so much
market share so quickly that Sony's chairman,
Akio Morita, was compelled to ask for a compromise. Konosuke Matsushita
refused, telling him that such a desperate display was both
Eventually even Sony began to manufacture VHS machines. Matsushita
(Panasonic) made VHS VCRS dominated the market from 1983 - 2000.
More history and information is available at website.