>Toshiba was founded by the merging of two companies in 1939.
One, Tanaka Seisakusho (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 (Tokyo Shibaura Electric) (東京芝浦電気). It was soon nicknamed Toshiba, but it was not until 1978 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 International Corporation (1970’s) Toshiba Electrical Equipment (1974), Toshiba Chemical (1974), Toshiba Lighting and Technology (1989), Toshiba America Information Systems (1989) and Toshiba Carrier Corporation (1999).
Toshiba is 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 1977, Toshiba merged with the Brazilian company Semp (Sociedade Eletromercantil Paulista), forming Semp Toshiba.
In 1987, Tocibai Machine, a subsidiary of Toshiba, 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 certain countries to COMECON 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. The contract ended in 2008, ending 7 years of OEM production with Orion.
In December 2004, Toshiba quietly announced it would discontinue manufacturing traditional in-house cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions. In 2006, Toshiba terminated production of in-house plasma TVs. Toshiba quickly switched to Orion as the supplier and maker of Toshiba-branded CRT-based TVs and plasma TVs until 2007. 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 (family-controlled vertical monopoly). 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 has traditionally meant loyalty, both corporate and private, to other members of the keiretsu or allied keiretsu. This loyalty can extend as far as the beer the employees consume, which in Toshiba’s case is Asahi.
In July 2005, BNFL confirmed it planned to sell Westinghouse Electric Company, then estimated to be worth $1.8bn (£1bn). 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.
Also, in late 2007, Toshiba’s logo replaced the former Discover Card logo on one of the screens atop One Times Square. It displays the iconic New Year’s countdown on its screen, as well as messages, greetings, and advertisements for the company.
 In-house companies
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- Toshiba Laptops
- Laptop Computing UK
- Laptop Computing IE
- Laptop Computing SW
- Laptop Computing FI
- Laptop Computing DK
- Laptop Computing NO
- Digital Products Group
- Mobile Communications Company
- Digital Media Network Company
- Personal Computer & Network Company, including Business Communications Division
- Electronic Devices & Components Group
- Infrastructure Systems Group
- Toshiba Power Systems Company (Combined-cycle gas power plants, nuclear power plants, hydro-electric power plants, and associated components)
- Westinghouse Electric Company (Acquired October 2006)
- Toshiba TEC Corporation
- Retail Solutions
- Multi Function Peripherals
- Auto ID Solutions
- Barcode Printers
- RFID Products
- Inkjet head
- The Ultimate
 Corporate affairs
 UPS involvement
After becoming aware that some customers felt that the repair process for broken laptops was too long, Toshiba partnered with the United Parcel Service (UPS) to design a more efficient repair process. Customers are told to drop off their laptops at a UPS Store, from which they will be shipped to Toshiba for repairs and then sent back to the customer. The laptops are in fact shipped off to an authorized UPS-run repair facility in Louisville, Ky, where UPS repairs the laptops themselves and ships them back to the customer directly.
 Social practices in France
– On 22 April 2010, the French newspaper Humanity blames the social practices of the company to maintain a contract with the French State with the support of this latter . The principal charge carried by the daily newspaper is:
– Within the framework of the revival program of Nicolas Sarkozy, the companies having a contract – with the State are held to maintain full employment.
– Toshiba, with its contract of the Union of the groupings of open-market purchase (Ugap), under the – aegis of the French State, would have cut in its manpower and an expert of the Secafi cabinet speaks – even about waves of dismissals.
– On 24 May 2010, after further investigation, the French newspaper Libération reported a link with UMP party in this political and economic business : Despite the fact that this whole thing was disputed by the National French labour inspection, the dismissal of an opponent is validated by the Ministry of Labour. Liberation published : “This is embarrassing for a group which largely benefits from the state and public account orders”. Xavier Darcos, still Minister of Labour at that time ignored the opinion of his collaborators and authorizes the dismissal of a Union delegate before even the investigation report was submitted to him. The Libération newspaper made the point by announcing that the Director of Human Resources from Toshiba Systems France is an elected member of UMP party. – see also http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshiba#cite_note-0 for more details.
 HD DVD
On February 19, 2008, Toshiba announced that it was to drop its format in the HD DVD ‘war’ with Sony and Pioneer-backed Blu-ray Disc devices. Following a review of its business, Toshiba said it would stop production of HD DVD players and recorders.
The HD DVD format had suffered as most of the major US film studios backed the Blu-ray format, which was developed by Sony, Panasonic, Philips and others. Toshiba’s President, Atsutoshi Nishida, announced “We concluded that a swift decision would be best [and] if we had continued, that would have created problems for consumers, and we simply had no chance to win”.
Toshiba continued to supply retailers with machines until the end of March 2008, and continued to provide technical support to the estimated one million people worldwide who owned HD DVD players and recorders. Toshiba has announced a new line of stand-alone Blu-ray players as well as drives for PCs and laptops, and has announced its intention to join the BDA, the industry body which oversees development of the Blu-ray format.
The HD DVD versus Blu-ray battle has been likened to the VHS versus Betamax war of the 1980s.
 3D Television
At October 2010 – Toshiba has announced Toshiba Regza GL1 21″ LED backlit LCD TV glasses-free 3D prototype at CEATEC 2010. This system supports 3D capability without glasses (integral imaging system of 9 parallax images with vertical lenticular sheet as used in Philip’s Dimenco). The retail product 20″ GL1 and 12″ GL1 will be released at December 2010.
 Environmental record
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E-waste is something that negatively affects the environment due to improper discard of items such as computers, DVD players, and cell phones. Most e-waste is hazardous to the environment because of its tendency to release toxic materials, such as lead and mercury, into soil and water, which later affect human, animal, and vegetation health.
Toshiba has been making efforts to lessen their impact on the environment. In March 2008, they tied for first place in Greenpeace’s seventh edition of its Guide to Greener Electronics that ranks electronics companies according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change. Toshiba received 7.7 points out of ten points possible, showing its improvement in recycling and chemical use since the last edition when it was only ranked number six. Toshiba focused on improving their score in Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR), which measures how efficiently a company deals with e-waste that is created from their own products that are thrown away.
In Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics from October 2010 Toshiba only ranked 16th out of 18 leading electronic manufacturers. Greenpeace criticises Toshiba for backtracking on its commitment to bring to market new models of all its consumer electronics products free of PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by 1 April 2010, and for not providing a new timeline for the elimination of these substances. Toshiba has some laptops, phones and TVs that are partly but currently no models that are completely free of PVC and BFRs. Toshiba aims to replace phthalates, beryllium and antimony in all its products by 2012.
Toshiba also partnered with China’s Tsinghua University in 2008 in order to form a research facility to focus on energy conservation and the environment. The new Toshiba Energy and Environment Research Center is located in Beijing where forty students from the university will work to research electric power equipment and new technologies that will help stop the global warming process. Through this partnership, Toshiba hopes to develop products that will better protect the environment and save energy in China. This contract between Tsinghua University and Toshiba originally began in October 2007 when they signed an agreement on joint energy and environment research. The projects that they conduct work to reduce car pollution and to create power systems that don’t negatively affect the environment.
source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshiba