Sharing Has Its Reward
In its January 25, l988 issue, TIME provided an insight on selfishness and its corollary, sharing. Speaking about the introduction of the videocassette recorder, the article said, “The company had made a crucial mistake. While at first Sony kept its Beta technology mostly to itself, JVC, the Japanese inventor of the VHS (format), shared its secret with a raft of other firms. As a result, the market was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the VHS machines being produced.”
This drastically undercut Sonys market share. The first year, Sony lost 40 percent of the market, and by 1987 it controlled only 10 percent. So now Sony has jumped on the VHS bandwagon. While it still continues to make Beta-format VCRs, Sonys switch to VHS, according to TIME, will likely send Beta machines to “the consumer-electronics graveyard.” Even in a cut-throat business, sharing has its rewards.