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Microsoft Corporation – Bill Gates & Windows

Bill Gates had a fascination with computer programming at an early age, and pursued his passion throughout college. Together with his childhood friend Paul Allen, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer – the MITS Altair 8800 in 1975.

The home computing revolution

Gates and Allen approached MITS with their creation, and the company agreed to distribute it as ‘Altair BASIC’. Paul Allen was hired into MITS, and Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard to work with him in Albuquerque in November 1975. Gates never returned to Harvard. On 4 April 1975, they officially established Microsoft with Gates as the CEO.

Microsoft became independent of MITS in late 1976, but continued to develop programming language software for various systems. On January 1, 1979, the company moved from Albuquerque to Bellevue, Washington.

Micro-soft is formed

microsoft-jobs-allenAllen came up with the original name of Micro-Soft – a portmanteau of microcomputer and software. Hyphenated in its early incarnations. The company was registered under that name with the Secretary of State of New Mexico on November 26, 1976. The company’s first international office was founded on November 1, 1978, in Japan, entitled “ASCII Microsoft” (now called “Microsoft Japan”), and on November 29, 1979, the term, “Microsoft” was first used by Bill Gates.

During Microsoft’s early years, Gates oversaw the business details, but continued to write code as well. In the first five years, he personally reviewed every line of code, and often rewrote parts of it.

In late 1970s and early 1980s, Microsoft’s early products were different variants of Microsoft BASIC which was the dominant programming language. Apple II (Applesoft BASIC) and Commodore 64 (Commodore BASIC), early home computers, were also provided with early versions of the IBM PC as the IBM Cassette BASIC.

Deal with IBM

In July 1980, IBM approached Microsoft to provide the operating system for its upcoming personal computer. For this deal, Microsoft bought a system called 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products. After adapting it for the PC, delivered it to IBM as ‘PC DOS’ in exchange for a one-time fee of $50,000. 35 of the company’s 100 employees worked on the IBM project for more than a year. When the IBM PC debuted, Microsoft was the only company that offered operating system, programming language, and application software for the new computer.

However, Gates believed other hardware companies would clone IBM’s system did not offer to transfer the copyright on the operating system. He was right, and the sales of PC DOS made Microsoft a major player in the industry. Despite IBM’s name on the operating system, Microsoft and Gates were quickly identified as ‘the man behind the machine’.

Gates oversaw Microsoft’s company restructuring in June 1981. The company was re-incorporated in Washington state and made Gates president of Microsoft and the chairman of the board.

Microsoft launched the first version of its Windows operating system on 20 November 1985, and in August, the company struck a deal with IBM to develop a separate operating system called OS/2. In February 1986, Microsoft moved its headquarters to Redmond and on March 13 the company went public.

Meanwhile, Microsoft began introducing its most prominent office products. Microsoft Works, an integrated office program which combined features typically found in a word processor, spreadsheet, database and other office applications, saw its first release as an application for the Apple Macintosh towards the end of 1986.

Release of the Graphical User Interface (GUI)

microsoft-logoWindows 3.0 was launched on May 22, 1990. The new version of Microsoft’s operating system boasted such new features as streamlined graphic user interface GUI and improved protected mode ability for the Intel 386 processor. Windows 3.0 sold over 100,000 copies in two weeks. Windows at the time generated more revenue for Microsoft than OS/2, and the company decided to move more resources to Windows from OS/2.

Creative differences caused the partnership between Microsoft and IBM to deteriorate in 1991. Microsoft had introduced its Office suite, which bundled applications such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, as well as Windows 3.0. Both Office and Windows became dominant in their respective areas.

During the transition from MS-DOS to Windows, the success of Microsoft’s product Microsoft Office allowed the company to gain ground on application-software competitors, such as WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3. By 1993, Windows had become the most widely used GUI operating system in the world.

The rise of the Internet

Microsoft had not yet developed a web browser and Windows 95 was released without one. The success of the Internet caught Microsoft by surprise and they subsequently approached Spyglass to license their browser as Internet Explorer. Spyglass later disputed the terms of the agreement, stating Microsoft was to pay a royalty for every copy sold. However, Microsoft sold no copies of Internet Explorer, choosing instead to bundle it for free with the operating system.

In May 1995, Microsoft began to redefine its offerings and expand its product line into computer networking and the World Wide Web. The company released Windows 95 in August 1995. Windows 95 featured a completely new user interface with a novel start button. While Microsoft largely failed to participate in the rise of the Internet in the early 1990s, some of the key technologies in which the company had invested to enter the Internet market started to pay off by the mid-90s.

New Leadership Structure

The year 1998 was significant in Microsoft’s history, with Bill Gates appointing Steve Ballmer as president of Microsoft. Gates remained as Chair and CEO himself. The company released an update to the consumer version of Windows, Windows 98. Microsoft launched its Indian headquarters as well, which would eventually become the company’s second largest after its U.S. headquarters.

microsoft-ballmerBill Gates handed over the CEO position in 2000, to Steve Ballmer, an old college friend and employee of the company since 1980. Paul Allen resigned after a long-term illness, while Gates became ‘chief software architect’ and chairman of the board.

On April 3, 2000, a judgment was handed down in the case of United States v. Microsoft, calling the company an “abusive monopoly” and forcing the company to split into two separate units. Part of this ruling was later overturned by a federal appeals court, and eventually settled with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2001.

In 2001, Microsoft went on to release Windows XP, followed by Windows Vista in 2007, Windows 7 in 2009 and Windows 8 in 2011. In 2002, Microsoft launched the .NET initiative, along with new versions of some of its development products, such as Microsoft Visual Studio. The initiative has been an entirely new development API for Windows programming, and includes a new programming language, C#.

The future of Microsoft

Bill Gates announced he would begin transitioning out of his day-to-day role to dedicate more time to philanthropy in June 2006. He divided his responsibilities between two successors, placing Ray Ozzie in charge of day-to-day management and Craig Mundie in charge of long-term product strategy. He finally retired as chief software architect in June 2008, but retained his role as chairman, in addition to being an advisor for the company on key projects.

Microsoft entered the game console market dominated by Sony and Nintendo, launching the first Xbox in 2001, and has begun to take on Apple in the smartphone market with the launch of Windows Phone in 2011, and the purchase of Nokia in 2013.

The History of Microsoft
The History of Microsoft by Best STL

The History of Gucci

Since it’s founding by Guccio Gucci in a small Florence shop in 1921, the Gucci company has built a catalog of genuinely iconic trademarks—the interlocking GG logo; the bamboo-handled handbag; the bar-and-bit belt buckle; the omnipresent penny loafer; the shiny velvet pantsuit, to name a few—all of which have helped the brand penetrate mainstream culture like no other Italian label in history. When Guccio Gucci started out, it’s quite certain that he never dreamed that the small family-run luggage company would one day grow to one carrying such cultural significance.

How Gucci Was Founded

Gucci was founded by Guccio Gucci in the early 1920s. As an immigrant in Paris and then London, Guccio made a living working in luxurious hotels and was impressed with the affluent luggage he saw the guests carrying. Inspired particularly by the elevated lifestyle he witnessed in the Savoy Hotel in London, on his return to Italy he decided to merge this refined style of living with the exclusive skills of his native craftsmen. Specifically he utilised the skills of local Tuscan artisans. He began by selling leather bags to horsemen in the 1920s and graduated into luxury luggage with the emergence of horseless carriages and non-equine transport.

The early years at GucciTogether with his sons, Gucci expanded his company to include stores in Milan and Rome as well as additional shops in Florence, selling his finely crafted leather accessories as well as silks and knitwear featuring his signature logo. Within a few years the label was enjoying growing success, the cosmopolitan international elite holidaying in Florence converged on Gucci’s bottega on a quest for his equestrian inspired Gucci shoes, bags, trunks, gloves and belts.

Created in the mid 1930s the Gucci Diamante pattern was first woven onto hemp and used on luggage. What started as an innovative solution to pre-war leather shortages became the Florentine atelier’s first iconic print and the design’s criss-cross pattern was a precursor to the famous GG logo. Although utilised throughout the fifties, the Diamante canvas fell largely into disuse until it was re-discovered by Giannini in the Gucci archives and used on a limited edition collection of classic Gucci handbags, shoes and leather goods.

Early Gucci History: Pre-World War II

1881: Guccio Gucci is born in Florence.

1897: He finds work in the Savoy Hotel, London.

1902: He returns to Florence and joins the leather manufacturer Franzi.

1905 to 1912: Sons Aldo, Vasco and Rodolfo are born to Guccio and his wife, Aida.

1921: Guccio opens his first stores in Florence on Via Vigna Nuova and then Via del Parione.

1935 to 1936: As a result of a League of Nations embargo against Italy, Gucci finds alternatives to imported leather and other materials. It develops a specially woven canapa, or hemp, from Naples, printed with the first signature print — a series of small, interconnecting diamonds in dark brown on a tan background. Gucci’s first successful suitcases are made from it.

1938: The Rome store opens on Via Condotti.

The Company During The War Years

Faced with scant foreign supplies during the years of Italy’s fascist dictatorship, Gucci continued to experiment with unusual materials such as hemp, linen and jute. One of his best known creations was the adding of a patina to a cane to create the handle of the new Bamboo Bag, whose curvy shape was inspired by the contours of a saddle. Over time the bamboo handle evolved from its origins as a solution to shortages and became a signature motif of many incarnations of Gucci bags. Bamboo inspired patterns have also featured on a variety of products from headscarves to watchstraps; it has even been skilfully carved into a pair of golden stiletto heels.

Many of Gucci’s local Italian clients were horse-riding aristocrats and their call for riding gear led Gucci to develop its unique Horsebit signature logo in the early 1950s. It was first used on ample saddle stitched leather Gucci handbags, since then it has been enlarged, minimalised, luxuriously embossed and branded into leather and velvet, turned into repeat patterns printed onto silk and transformed into components of Gucci jewellery. The Horsebit later played a vital role in the marketing of one of fashion’s most iconic shoes, the Gucci loafer.

During the 1950s Gucci again took equestrian inspiration for the creation of its trademark green and red Web stripe, derived from the traditional colours of saddle girth strap. Throughout the brand’s history the Web stripe has appeared on an array of products. In modern collections the Web’s stripes have been morphed into various colours, materials and sizes.

The Company Continues After Guccio’s Death

With Gucci’s death in 1953 his sons Aldo, Vasco, Ugo and Rodolfo took over the family business. The brothers took the successful luggage business to new heights, opening stores round the world and making the Gucci name synonymous with celebrity and chic. Gucci products quickly became internationally renowned for their enduring style and were valued by movie icons and elite figures in the era of the Jet Set.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis sported the Gucci shoulder bag, which later became known as the Jackie O. Created in the late 1950s, the Jackie O bag was given its name after being photographed numerous times on the arm if its namesake while she was working as a consulting editor at Doubleday. Elizabeth Taylor, Samuel Beckett and Peter Sellers carried the slouchy unisex Hobo Bag.

After a personal request from the Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly, the now famous Gucci scarf print Flora was created. Flora was immensely popular amongst European women, who held it in such regard that they passed this loyalty onto their daughters. One was Princess Caroline of Monaco who adopted her mothers scarf print into her daily wardrobe.

workers at GucciBy the early 1960s Gucci had adopted the celebrated double interlocking G logo, creating yet another trademark insignia for the company. Single or double Gs were squared off and used as fastenings for bags; these were developed and produced at Gucci’s own forge at its historic workshop on Via delle Caldaie in Florence. The double Gs were soon transferred onto the internationally recognised cotton canvas luggage.

The GG monogram solidified the company’s fame and the Gucci name was carried around the globe in the much-photographed company of movie stars, aristocrats and socialites. The GG logo became a status symbol and hallmark of high glamour, luxury and desirability. Over time the squared off G logo has been endlessly re-worked, merged into a circle, inverted, abstracted and even controversially shaved into a model’s pubic hair.

Throughout the 1960s Gucci continued its global expansion opening Gucci shops in London, the USA and the lucrative emerging market of the Far East. Following the enlargement of their luggage business, the company developed the first RTW Gucci collection, heavily featuring the double G logo.

The brand was now becoming known not just for its exceptional Italian quality and craftsmanship, but also for its innovative and audacious clothing line. The Gucci insignia were constantly re-invented through new shapes, colours and techniques, the GG logo was burnt through suede and leather, again being inspired by equestrian branding. The company used ever more opulent materials, the finest leathers and suede and exotic animal skins such as baby crocodile.

Post World War II Gucci History

1947 to 1948: Production of leather goods resumes after World War II. Aldo Gucci introduces the pigskin, which becomes a signature house material. The first bamboo-handled bag, inspired by the shape of a saddle, is thought to be produced in this period.

1948: Maurizio Gucci is born to Rodolfo and his wife, Alessandra.

1951: Rodolfo opens the first Milan store, on Via Montenapoleone. Around this time, the green-red-green web becomes a hallmark of the company.

1953: Gucci becomes a pioneer of Italian design in the U.S. when Aldo opens the first American store in the Savoy Plaza Hotel on East 58th Street in New York.

Guccio Gucci dies at age 72, 15 days after the New York store opens.

The Gucci loafer with metal horsebit is created.

1955: The house’s crest becomes a registered trademark.

1960: The New York store moves to a Fifth Avenue address next to the St. Regis Hotel at 55th Street.

1961: Stores open in London and Palm Beach.

The bag that Jacqueline Kennedy is seen with is renamed the Jackie. Around this time, the GG logo is applied to canvas and used for bags, small leather goods, luggage and the first pieces of clothing.

1963: The first Paris store opens.

1966: The Flora scarf print is designed for Princess Grace of Monaco.

1968: Gucci opens in Beverly Hills.

1972: A store opens in Tokyo.

Maurizio Gucci, son of Rodolfo, goes to work with his uncle Aldo in New York, until 1982.

Around this time, the brand is hitting its fashion stride. A store dedicated to clothing opens at 699 Fifth Avenue in New York, while 689 Fifth Avenue focuses on shoes, bags, luggage and accessories.

1974: A flagship opens in Hong Kong.

1975: The first fragrance launches.

Following enormous success in the 1970s, Gucci, like many luxury labels such as Burberry, suffered a proletarian drift due to over branding and licensing of products. By the time Gucci’s creative director Dawn Mello hired a then unknown Tom Ford in 1990 ‘no one would dream of wearing Gucci’. Ford imbued the luxury brand with a sense of adventure and sensuality that reverberated throughout the fashion world and inspired a new breed of celebrity to buy Gucci.

The Hiring Of Tom Ford

Raised in Texas and New Mexico, Ford moved to New York to study architecture at Parsons School of Design. During his time in New York, he became a regular at the legendary nightclub Studio 54. The club’s famous disco-era mystique would become a major influence on his designs. Before completing his course at Parsons, Ford spent a year and a half in Paris where he worked as an intern at the Chloé press office, this work triggered his love of fashion. He spent his final year at Parsons studying fashion but nevertheless graduated with a degree in architecture.

By the time Ford was promoted to Gucci creative director he was being lauded as the man who was putting glamour back in fashion with his Halston style velvet hipster trousers, slim satin shirts, and super slick and shiny metallic patent boots.  The stiletto Gucci shoe and the slinky cut out jersey Gucci dress with metallurgic hardware details became instant signatures of Ford’s glitzy, glamorous vision. Ford combined an intelligent commercial sensibility with a modern feel for fashion. He became known for bringing a hedonistic sense of sex into nineties fashions previously dominated by starkly austere minimalism.

“I think his stuff will hold its own better than any other label in the contemporary resale market”, said Clair Watson, the director of couture at Doyle New York, the Upper East Side auction house. “The early years of this century are all about sex in the abstract, and Tom Ford mastered the ‘about to have sex’ look at Gucci and the mussed, smudged, post-sex look at Yves Saint Laurent. And there was Ford himself: in his tailored jeans and jackets, charcoal stubble, and stiff white shirt unbuttoned to there, sipping a martini as he took a bow. Who wouldn’t want a piece of that?”

modern gucci storeThe French holding company Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, the company’s owner since 1999, took managerial control in 2004, to Ford’s extreme chagrin—and he departed, leaving the label with a very big pair of alligator loafers to fill. Ford had taken the company from virtual bankruptcy in 1994 to a value of $4.3 billion at the end of the decade, and the brand’s identity had never been stronger. Enter the relatively unassuming Frida Giannini, an accessories designer: She had been part of the Gucci design stable for nearly three years when she was awarded the top spot.

“I would be stupid and arrogant to say that I didn’t feel Tom’s weight,” Giannini said in 2006, reflecting on her debut collection. But by introducing lighter colors and more prints, and toning down the aggressively sexual overtones—which were beginning to look a bit dated in the less hedonistic light of the new millennium—she has won both critical accolades and a new crop of Gucci devotees.

When Frida Giannini took over the creative directorial role she explored Gucci’s rich heritage and its luxurious craftsmanship legacy, fusing past and present, history and modernity into her designs. Iconic house signature pieces such as Flora, La Pelle Guccissima, the Jackie O and the Bamboo Gucci bag were re-vamped for the new millennium. Giannini has given the signature Gucci Horsebit a new lease of life, adapting Gucci prints from the late 1960s, super magnifying them or enlarging to a huge scale to use on sinuous dresses or travel totes.

Modern Gucci History

1981: Ready-to-wear parades for the first time at the Florentine fashion shows at the Sala Bianca, playing heavily on the Flora print.

1982: Gucci gets the legal SpA designation; leadership eventually passes to Rodolfo Gucci.

1985: The iconic loafer is displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and becomes part of the permanent collection.

1989: The Anglo-Arabian holding company Investcorp purchases 50 percent of Gucci shares. The fund lures Dawn Mello, then president of Bergdorf Goodman, to revitalize the brand. She brings Richard Lambertson, head of Bergdorf’s accessories department, to be design director.

1990: American designer Tom Ford is hired to oversee women’s rtw.

1993: Maurizio Gucci transfers his shares to Investcorp, ending the family’s involvement in the firm.

1994: Tom Ford is appointed creative director. His first collection, for fall 1995, focuses on jet-set glamour and is a critical and commercial success, putting the label back at the forefront of fashion.

1995: Domenico De Sole, previously chief executive officer of Gucci America Inc., is appointed Gucci Group’s ceo. He immediately begins reining in licenses, franchises and secondary lines to reverse a decade that saw overexposure of the brand and cheapening of its image.

Maurizio Gucci is gunned down by a hit man commissioned by his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani.

1996 to 1997: Ford’s collection of white cutout jersey dresses fastened with abstract horse-bit belts sets the sleek, sexy, modern style of the house’s look in the Nineties and establishes it as a brand dedicated to evening glamour — and consequently attracts hordes of Hollywood actors and actress.

1999 to 2000: The Jackie bag relaunches in many colors and variations, triggering a huge and sustained response. It opens the era of the Gucci “It” bag.

The company weathers a hostile takeover bid by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton chief executive Bernard Arnault. It is ultimately saved when white knight François Pinault of strategic investment firm PPR (known as Pinault Printemps Redoute at the time) starts amassing a portfolio of luxury brands.

2002: Frida Giannini, previously handbag designer for Fendi, joins the label’s accessories department, contributing bold reinventions of house signatures as part of Ford’s design team.

2004: Ford and De Sole leave the company when they and parent PPR fail to come to terms over a new contract. John Ray takes over men’s design; Alessandra Facchinetti takes women’s, and Giannini becomes creative director of accessories.

Robert Polet, the head of Unilever’s $7.8 billion frozen-food division, trades ice cream and fish sticks for handbags and stilettos as the new ceo of Gucci Group.

Mark Lee, ceo of PPR-owned Yves Saint Laurent, is named Gucci brand chief.

2005: Giannini is appointed creative director of women’s rtw following her successful relaunch of the Flora print as a bag collection. A year later, she adds the role of creative director for men’s wear.

2006: The company signs a long-term licensing agreement with P&G for the production and worldwide distribution of its fragrances.

The Ginza flagship opens in Tokyo, and the Landmark Hong Kong flagship opens.

2007: The first TV ad campaign runs. It is for the Gucci by Gucci fragrance and is directed by David Lynch.

2008: Gucci opens the New York global flagship in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. The company celebrates with an event co-hosted by Giannini and Madonna — “A Night to Benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF.”

The renovated Rome flagship is reopened. During the celebration for the 70th anniversary of its Roman store, the 2009 cruise collection show is live-streamed on the Web site.

Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme, the first men’s scent created by Giannini, makes its debut with actor James Franco starring in the ad campaign. The house also renews its eyewear licensing deal with Safilo until 2018.

2009: Patrizio di Marco, head of group-owned Bottega Veneta, joins Gucci as president and ceo, succeeding Mark Lee.

Flora by Gucci, Giannini’s second women’s scent, launches and the iconic Jackie bag is given a modern interpretation and dubbed the New Jackie Bag.

Gucci opens its first pop-up shop in New York, selling an exclusive footwear line designed by Mark Ronson. Similar temporary stores will later open in Miami, London and Tokyo.

The label enters the Indian retail market via a joint venture with the holding company of local entrepreneurs Reena and Ashok Wadhwa, taking a controlling 51 percent stake in the new firm.

2010: A sporty, contemporized version of the Bamboo bag, the New Bamboo; the new Gucci 1973 line of bags, and the Gucci by Gucci Sport Pour Homme fragrance and Gucci Guilty women’s scent all launch.

The Singapore Paragon store reopens, and the city-state celebrates Giannini with a special orchid, the Paravanda Frida.

A joint venture in leather goods: GPA, or Gucci Pelletteria Annalisa, is formed. Gucci takes a 51 percent stake while the other 49 percent is held by Jacopo Focardi, owner of Pelletteria Annalisa, near Florence.

The company unveils its renovated digital flagship and launches Gucci Playground, the first iPad app dedicated to children’s wear.

2011: The company prepares to celebrate its 90th anniversary.

Toyota Motors

Toyota started in 1933 with the company being a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works devoted to the production of automobiles under the direction of the founder’s son, Kiichiro Toyoda.  Kiichiro Toyoda had traveled to Europe and the United States in 1929 to investigate automobile production and had begun researching gasoline-powered engines in 1930.
Due to the war with China, the Japanese government which needed domestic vehicle production encouraged Toyoda Automatic Loom Works to develop automobile production.  In 1934, the division produced its first Type A Engine, which was used in the first Model A1passenger car in May 1935 and the G1 truck in August 1935. Production of the Model AA passenger car started in 1936.

Toyota Motor Company is formed

Toyota Motor Co. was established as an independent and separate company in 1937. Although the founding family’s name was written in the Kanji “豊田” (rendered as “Toyoda”), the company name was changed to a similar word in katakana – トヨタ (rendered as “Toyota”) because the latter has 8 strokes which is regarded as a lucky number in East Asian culture During the Pacific War (World War II) the company was dedicated to truck production for the Imperial Japanese Army.

Post World War II growth

Japan experienced extreme economic difficulties after World War II. Commercial passenger car production started in 1947 with the model SA. By the end of 1949, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. The company eventually obtained a loan from a consortium of banks which stipulated an independent sales operation and elimination of “excess manpower”.
toyota historyIn June 1950, the company produced only 300 trucks and was on the verge of going out of business. Management announced layoffs and wage reductions. In response the union went on a two month strike.  The strike was resolved by an agreement that included layoffs and pay reductions and the resignation of the president at the time, Kiichiro Toyoda.   Taizo Ishida, the chief executive of the Toyoda Automatic Loom company,  succeeded Toyoda.
The company was revived by an order of over 5,000 vehicles from the US military within the first few months of the Korean War. Ishida was credited for his focus on investment in equipment.  In 1950, a separate sales company, Toyota Motor Sales Co., was established.  In April 1956, the Toyopet dealer chain was established. In 1957, the Crown became the first Japanese car to be exported to the United States and Toyota’s American and Brazilian divisions, Toyota Motor Sales Inc. and Toyota do Brasil S.A., were also established.

Toyota Motor Sales is Established in the United States

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., was formed Oct. 31, 1957. Toyota established its headquarters in a former Rambler dealership in Hollywood, Calif. Sales began in 1958 and totaled a modest 288 vehicles – 287 Toyopet Crown sedans and one Land Cruiser.
When it was found that the Toyopet was woefully underpowered and overpriced for the American market enthusiasm turned to gloom.  Toyopet sales stalled and were discontinued in 1961. The legendary Land Cruiser, which quickly gained a reputation as a durable, all-terrain vehicle, carried the Toyota flag in the United Sates until 1965 when the Toyota Corona arrived.
Corona was designed specifically for American drivers and was the first popular Toyota in the US.  Corona helped increase U.S. sales of Toyota vehicles threefold in 1966 to more than 20,000 units. Sales continued to soar as more Americans discovered the quality and reliability of Toyota products. By July 1967, Toyota had become the third-best-selling import brand in the United States.
In 1968, the Corolla was introduced  and was a huge success with American drivers. Corolla has since become the world’s all-time best-selling passenger car, with over 30 million sold in more than 140 countries. In 1972 Toyota sold its one-millionth vehicle. Toyota surpassed Volkswagen to become the No. 1 import brand in the United States by the end of 1975.
toyota importsIn 1978, Toyota won the “Import Triple Crown” by leading all import brands in sales of cars, trucks and total vehicles. During the 1970s, Toyota launched some of its most memorable marketing campaigns. The campaigns used tag lines that included  the hit “Oh What A Feeling!” campaign that included the popular “Toyota Jump” and “You Asked For It/You Got It!”.
 In 1982, it opened a new national sales headquarters complex that it occupies today in Torrance, Calif.  It also celebrated its 25th anniversary in America in the same year. Toyota’s success continued, and in 1986, it became the first import automaker to sell more than one million vehicles in America in a single year, racking up sales of 1,025,305 cars and trucks.
1986 also marked the company’s debut as a manufacturer in the United States.  The first Toyota car built on American soil, a white Corolla FX16, was produced on Oct. 7, 1986, at the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. plant, a joint venture with General Motors.
Establishment of North American Production

Establishment of North American Production

Since that time, Toyota has established many other vehicle and parts plants in North America. Toyota now operates 14 plants across North America, including facilities in the states of California, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri and Mississippi.
Toyota branched out by establishing a luxury line of vehicles under the Lexus brand in 1989.  The debut of the highly acclaimed Lexus LS 400 and the ES 250, plus exceptional customer service, quickly became the hallmark of Lexus. Surpassing both Mercedes Benz and BMW, in 1991 Lexus earned the title of No. 1 luxury import in the United States. The brand also dominated three independent J.D. Power and Associates quality surveys, being named top nameplate in Customer Satisfaction, Sales Satisfaction and Initial Quality.
Through the 1990s, Toyota continued its strong growth. A highpoint came in December 1997 when the Toyota Camry first earned the title of No.1-selling passenger car in America.  In 1998, Toyota also launched its first full-sized pickup, the Tundra.
The launch of the Prius marked the start of the new millennium for Toyota. The Prius became the world’s first mass-produced gas/electric hybrid car.  By the end of 2000, following its tag line, “The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection,” Lexus edged out Mercedes Benz by 423 units to become the top-selling luxury brand in the United States.
May 2001 marked the incorporation of Toyota Motor Sales de Mexico, Toyota’s new sales and marketing subsidiary in Mexico. By the end of the year, Toyota had grown to become the third-best-selling automotive brand in the United States, surpassing Dodge with best-ever sales of 1,741,254 vehicles.
Toyota launched Scion in 2003, its third line of vehicles, as growth in America continued. The Scion line featured three modestly priced but feature-rich vehicles brought to market. In 2004, Toyota’s U.S. sales topped two million vehicles per year for the first time.
toyota manufacturingIn 2006, Toyota added a hybrid option to its popular Camry sedan and began building it in the United States at its massive Kentucky plant. The company also opened up its 10th U.S. plant in San Antonio, Texas, to build pickups. In addition, the company launched the FJ Cruiser with a design that harkens to the early years of the rugged Land Cruiser, the only vehicle Toyota has continuously sold throughout its entire 50-year history in America. Sales surged to more than 2.5 million for the first time and Toyota established itself as the third best-selling automotive company in the United States.
In 2008, the Toyota brand outsold Chevrolet to become the No. 1-selling automotive brand in America.   For the 11th time in 12 years, Camry retained its crown as the No 1-selling car in the nation. Toyota also passed General Motors in global sales to become the world’s largest automaker for the first time in history and was one of the largest corporations in the world.
In 2009, Toyota launched two all-new gas/electric hybrids, the third-generation Prius, and the first dedicated hybrid from Lexus, the HS 250h. Lexus also introduced the all-new, second-generation GX 460 luxury utility vehicle and the next generation of its trend-setting RX luxury utility vehicles, the V6-powered RX 350 and the hybrid RX 450h. By the end of the year, total combined sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids in the United States topped the one million mark. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. received an environmental achievement award from the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region Office.
Production of the third-generation Sienna at its Indiana plant began in 2010. In late January, Toyota briefly suspended sales of eight models for sticking accelerator pedals.  Intense news coverage of the situation and additional recalls led to Congressional hearings.  As a result, Toyota paid three federal penalties.  A fix for the sticking accelerator was rolled out in early February.

The intense media coverage combined with the lingering effects of the recession weakened results with the company reporting a slight 0.3 percent drop in sales for the year. Despite the negative press attention,  Toyota ended the year as the No. 1 retail brand, Lexus remained the No. 1 luxury brand, and Camry retained its title as the best-selling passenger car in the United States.

A 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Tohoku region of Japan on March 11, 2011. The earthquake, followed by a tsunami, claimed the lives of nearly 16,000 people. Entire cities were destroyed and many businesses were shut down, including four Toyota plants. As production started returning to former levels, floods in Thailand halted production in two more plants.  Despite these natural disasters, production returned to near-normal levels by the end of the year.

In 2011, Toyota unveiled a bigger and more diverse Prius family of vehicles. The Prius line of vehicles included the third-generation Prius liftback, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the larger Prius v and the smaller Prius cconcept vehicle.

New Toyota vehicles launched in 2011 included the completely redesigned 2012 Camry and the next generation 2012 Yaris lift-back.  Later in the year, Lexus took the wraps off the all-new 2013 GS 350, GS 450h and GS 350 F SPORT with the bold new face of Lexus. Also, Lexus introduced the CT 200h, a premium compact hybrid that earned a Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Toyota Camry and Scion tC, won five star crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Also, Scion introduced the 2012 iQ.  Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky celebrated 25 years of production in Georgetown, Kentucky.  Other 2011 milestones included the sale of the one-millionth Toyota Prius in the United States. Toyota also expanded its vehicle manufacturing in the United States and created 2,000 American jobs by beginning production of the Corolla at the newly opened Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi plant.

As a result of strong efforts of its associates around the globe and in Japan, Toyota recovered rapidly from the supply disruptions caused by the natural disasters.  In 2012, as dealer inventories were fully restocked, Toyota began regaining its sales momentum.  By mid-year, U.S. sales of Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles had sped past the one-million-sales mark.   Starting in March 2012, Toyota was once again the No. 1 retail brand in the United States.

Driven in large measure by the launch of a record number of 19 new and redesigned products lead to the company’s resurgent U.S. sales.  Five Toyota and Lexus vehicles captured segment awards.  In addition, five Toyota manufacturing facilities won plant awards in the annual J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey.
On top of everything else, Toyota models earned five out of the 10 top spots in the Consumer Reports’ 2012 Top Picks.  This marked the first time in nearly a decade that a single brand had captured half the categories.  A total of 17 Toyota, Lexus and Scion 2012 models earned Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Awards.

Toyota History Timeline

1924 Sakichi Toyoda invents Toyoda Model G Automatic Loom.
1930 Kiichiro Toyoda begins research on small gasoline-powered engine.
1933 Automobile Department is established at Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd.
1936 The AA Sedan is completed.
1937 Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. is established.
1938 Honsha Plant begins production
1950 Company faces a financial crisis; Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. is established.
1955 The Toyopet Crown, Toyopet Master and Crown Deluxe are launched.
1957 The first prototypes of the Crown are exported to the United States; Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. is established.
1959 Motomachi Plant begins production.
1965 Toyota wins the Deming Application Prize for quality control.
1966 The Corolla is launched; business partnership with Hino Motors Ltd. begins.
1967 Business partnership with Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. begins.
1982 Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. and Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. are merged into Toyota Motor Corporation.
1984 Joint venture with General Motors (New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.) begins production in the USA.
1988 Toyota Motor Manufacturing, USA, Inc. (present TMMK) begins production.
1989 The Lexus brand is launched in the USA.
1992 Toyota Motor Manufacturing (United Kingdom) Ltd. begins production.
1997 The Prius is launched as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car.
1999 Cumulative domestic production reaches 100 million vehicles.
2000 Sichuan Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. begins production in China.
2001 Toyota Motor Manufacturing France S.A.S. begins production in France.
2002 Toyota enters Formula One World Championship; Tianjin Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. begins production in China.
2004 The Toyota Partner Robot is publicly unveiled.
2005 The Lexus brand is introduced in Japan.
2008 Worldwide Prius sales top 1 million mark.
2010 Worldwide Prius sales top 2 million mark; Toyota and Tesla Motors agree on joint EV development.
2011 Worldwide Hybrid Vehicle sales top 3 Million mark; Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi, Inc. begins production in the USA.
2012 Worldwide sales of TMC hybrids top 4 million units

WalMart – the Story of Sam Walton and WalMart

In 1950, Sam Walton purchased a store from Luther E. Harrison in Bentonville, Arkansas, and opened Walton’s 5 & 10. The Ozark Mountain town of 2,900 residents would become the headquarters for the world’s largest retailer.

Sam Walton had a simple but momentous idea. Typically when a retailer managed to get a bargain from a wholesaler, the retailer would leave store prices unchanged and pocket the extra money. Walton realized he could pass on the savings to his customers and earning his profits through volume. This insight would form a cornerstone of Walton’s business strategy. In 1962 Walton opened the first Walmart store.

Walton opened the second store in Rogers, Arkansas. By 1967, the company grew to 24 stores across the state of Arkansas, and had reached $12.6 million in sales, and by 1968, the company opened its first stores outside of Arkansas in Sikeston, Missouri and Claremore, Oklahoma. Responsible for the purchase and maintenance of signage, Walton’s assistant, Bob Bogle, came up with the name “Wal-Mart” for the new chain.

The 1960’s

Sam Walton’s strategy was built on an unshakeable foundation: The Lowest Prices Anytime, Anywhere.

On July 2, 1962, Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Rogers, Ark.

The Walton family owned 24 stores, ringing up $12.7 million in sales.

The company officially incorporated as Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

A Culture of ‘Low Cost’

The quest for low prices came naturally to Walton. He had his hair cut by the local barber, a $5 expense that he never supplemented with a tip. On business trips, everyone flew coach, and shared hotel rooms. Even a cup of coffee at the office required a 10-cent contribution to the tin.

Walton understood that a major requirement for keeping costs down was controlling the payroll. Walton preferred hiring as few people as possible, and keeping pay down as much as possible. Walton did everything he could to fight Unions. Walton framed his thriftiness as a crusade on behalf of the lowly consumer and the goal of a better life for all Americans.

The company’s first stock split occurred in May 1972 at a market price of $47. By this time, Walmart was operating in five states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma. The company expanded into Tennessee in 1973. Followed by Kentucky and Mississippi in 1974. With the expansion into Texas in 1975, the company had 125 stores with 7,500 associates, and total sales of $340.3 million.

Walmart Goes National

In the 1970s, a decade of incredible growth, “Mr. Sam” began to take Walmart national, proving his vision’s widespread appeal.

Walmart became a publicly traded company. The first stock was sold at $16.50 per share.

The first distribution center and Home Office opened in Bentonville, Ark.

Walmart was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

With 51 stores, Walmart recorded sales of $78 million.

Inspired by a visit to a Korean manufacturing facility, Sam Walton introduced the Walmart cheer.

The Walmart Foundation was established.

Wal-Mart expanded into Illinois and made its first corporate acquisition by 1977. The company assumed ownership and operation of the Mohr-Value stores, which operated in Missouri and Illinois. In 1978, came the acquisition of the Hutcheson Shoe Company. In 1978 Walmart launched its pharmacy, auto service center, and jewelry divisions.

In 1985, Wal-Mart launched a “Made in America” campaign amid anxiety about trade deficits and the loss of American manufacturing jobs. The campaign committed Wal-Mart to buying American-made products if suppliers could get within 5 percent of the price of a foreign competitor.

Effective use of technology helped put the company ahead of its competitors. By the 1970s, Wal-Mart was using computers to link its stores and warehouses. Sales data allowed Wal-Mart to keep track of specific items and reduce inventory miscalculations.

The Wal-Mart Cheer

After seeing employees at a South Korean tennis ball factory reciting a morning cheer, Sam Walton introduces the “Wal-Mart cheer” to his own company. The cheer, recited by employees around the world, becomes an integral part of Wal-Mart’s culture.

The Wal-Mart cheer is:

Give me a W!
Give me an A!
Give me an L!
Give me a Squiggly! (At which point, the employees do a little shimmy.)
Give me an M!
Give me an A!
Give me an R!
Give me a T!
What does that spell?
What does that spell?
Who’s number one?
The customer! Always!

In 1981, Wal-Mart expanded into the southeastern US market. They acquiring 92 Kuhn’s Big K stores and opened new Wal-Mart stores in Georgia and South Carolina. In 1982, Wal-Mart expanded into Nebraska and Florida. In April 1983, the company opened its first Sam’s Club store, a membership-based discount warehouse club.

In 1983, the company expanded into Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico and North Carolina, followed by Virginia in 1984. Also in 1984, “people greeters” were introduced to all stores. In 1985, the company had 882 stores with sales of $8.4 billion and 104,000 associates. Also in 1985, the company expanded into Wisconsin and Colorado, and opened the first stores in Minnesotain 1986. The company celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary in 1987.

walmartIn February 1988, Sam Walton stepped down as Chief Executive Officer, and David Glass was appointed to succeed him. Walton remained on as Chairman of the Corporate Board of Directors, and the company also restructured their senior management positions, promoting a group of senior executives to positions of greater responsibility.

Also in 1988, the first Wal-Mart Supercenter was introduced in Washington, Missouri. The supercenter concept features everything contained in an average Walmart store, and added optical center, one-hour photo processing lab, a tire and oil change shop, portrait studio. The stores also contained numerous alcove shops such as banks, hair and nail salons, cellular telephone stores, video rental stores, and fast food outlets.

By 1988, Walmart expanded into Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Wyoming. The company operated in 27 states in total. By 1990, they expanded into California, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Utah.

America’s Top Retailer

By 1990, Walmart was the nation’s number-one retailer. As the Walmart Supercenter redefined convenience and one-stop shopping, Every Day Low Prices went international.
Through a joint venture with Cifra, a Mexican retail company, Walmart went global, opening a Sam’s Club in Mexico City.
Walmart celebrated its first $1 billion sales week.

Walmart opened its first stores in China.

The company celebrated its first $100 billion sales year.

The 1990s saw an era of furious growth on an unprecedented scale. 1991 saw the launch of the Sam’s American Choice brand of products.

In 1991, the company expanded into Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. Walmart expanded worldwide this year, with the opening of their first store outside the United States in Mexico City. In 1993, the Walmart International Division was formed. The company also expanded into Rhode Island, Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington.

In 1994, Walmart acquired 91 PACE Membership Warehouse clubs from Kmart and 122 Woolco stores in Canada. It opened 3 value clubs in Hong Kong. By 1995, Walmart had 1,995 discount stores, 239 Supercenters, 433 SAM’S CLUBS and 276 international stores and 675,000 associates. Walmart expanded into its 50th state – Vermont, and expanded into South America, with three new units in Argentina and five in Brazil. In 1996, the company entered the Chinese market through a joint-venture agreement.

In 1997, Walmart replaced Woolworth on the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company had its first $100 billion sales year, with sales totaling $118.1 billion. Also this year, they acquired 21 Wertkauf stores in Germany, and introduced their OneSource nutrition centers.
In 1998, Walmart launched its Wal-Mart Television Network. The in-store advertising network showed news, concert clips and music videos for a recording artist’s media, trailers for upcoming movie releases, commercials for products sold in the stores.

For a while, though, it worked. Between 1997 and 2001, the company’s stock value increased by over 500 percent, rising by 70 percent in 1997 alone. Between 1996 and 1999, sales increased by 78 percent. In 2000, Lee Scott was named president and CEO and US sales had doubled to $156 billion since 1995.

Major Milestones

America’s number one grocer – Wal-Mart reaches grocery sales of $56 billion, making it the largest food retailer in the U.S., with a 16 percent market share.

June 7, 2002

Wal-Mart tops the Fortune 500 list – Earning $219.8 billion in revenue in 2001, Wal-Mart finally tops the Fortune 500 list as the biggest company in America, measured by annual revenue. According to Fortune, the company is raking in sales at a rate of $1 billion per day. The magazine also notes that Wal-Mart is the first service company to top the list.

That growth has been accompanied by two distinct kinds of perceptions among the public. On the one hand, Wal-Mart has been celebrated for its business innovations, which have set a new global standard for efficiency. In 2000, Walmart was ranked fifth by Fortune magazine on its Global Most Admired All-Stars list, and in 2003 and 2004, as the most admired company in America.

On the other, it has been condemned for its hard-charging business practices. One of the most prominent attacks came last November, when filmmaker Robert Greenwald released Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, a documentary that excoriated the company for its approach to unions, independent retailers, outsourcing, and wages and benefits.

In 2002 Walmart entered the Japanese market by acquiring a minor stake in Seiyu Group. In 2005, Walmart had $312.4 billion in sales, more than 6,200 facilities around the world, including 3,800 stores in the United States and 3,800 international units, and more than 1.6 million associates employed worldwide. Approximately 138 million customers visited Walmart stores each week all over the world.

For the first time in 13 years, Walmart introduced new advertising with the slogan, “Save Money Live Better,” instead of “Always Low Prices, Always.” On June 30, 2008, Walmart unveiled the company’s new logo, which stylized the name as “Walmart”. A spark, a symbol chosen to represent Walmart associates, replaces the star.

As of October 2009, Walmart stores operate in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Today, with $288 billion in annual revenues and over $10 billion in profits. It operates over 5,000 stores worldwide and employs over 1.6 million people.

Best Buy Inc. – Specialty Retailer of the Decade

Best Buy is the largest retailer of consumer electronics in the US and Canada, with an annual revenue of $40B. The company was founded in St Paul, Minnesota, by Richard M. Schulze and Gary Smoliak in 1966 as the Sound of Music store. It was rebranded and renamed with more emphasis placed on consumer electronics in 1983.

Subsidiaries include CinemaNow, Geek Squad, Magnolia Audio Video, Pacific Sales, Cowboom, Audiovisions, Pacific Sales, Jiangsu Five Star Alliance and Future Shop, Best Buy operates in around 1,300 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, and China. It sells electronic goods, home-office products, entertainment software, appliances and related services to a global market. Best Buy’s exclusive brands consist primarily of Insignia, Dynex, Init, Geek Squad and Rocketfish.

The Early Years

In 1966, Richard M. Schulze and Gary Smoliak opened Sound of Music as an electronics store specializing in hi-fi stereos. Schulze financed the opening of his first store with his personal savings and a second mortgage he took out on his family’s home. Sound of Music acquired Kencraft Hi-Fi Company and Bergo Company in 1967. By 1969, Schulze had bought out his business partner, Sound of Music had three stores and the company became a publicly held company listed on the NASDAQ exchange.

In 1981, the Roseville, Minnesota Sound of Music location, at the time the largest and most profitable Sound of Music store, was hit by a tornado. Schulze decided to have a “Tornado Sale” of damaged and excess stock in the store’s parking lot. Advertising and promotions of the sale promised “best buys” on everything. Sound of Music made more money during the four-day sale than it did in a typical month.

Best Buy Begins

Best-Buy-Geek-SquadWith seven stores and $10 million in annual sales, Sound of Music was renamed Best Buy Company, Inc. in 1983. The company expanded its product offerings to include home appliances and VCRs. Later that year Best Buy opened its first superstore in Burnsville, Minnesota. The Burnsville location featured a high-volume, low price business model, which was borrowed partially from Schulze’s successful Tornado Sale in 1981. In its first year, the Burnsville store out-preformed all other Best Buy stores combined. By 1993, Best Buy had become the USA’s second-largest consumer electronics retailer, breaking into Fortune magazine’s annual ranking of America’s 500 largest corporations two years later at number 373.

A partnership with Microsoft in 1999 boosted the company’s profile, leading to the opening of its first global sourcing office in Shanghai, China, in 2003. Its first retail store in Shanghai followed in 2007, with pilot stores now scheduled for both Mexico and Turkey.

In 1997, the company was the first retailer in the US to sell DVD hardware and software. Ten years later it became the first major retailer to call time on the analogue television market with the decision to sell digital products only. Sometimes called the “Big Blue Box” owing to the design of the company’s warehouse-style stores, Best Buy was named as Forbes magazine’s Company of the Year in 2004.

In 2013, Best Buy operated 1,056 Best Buy and 409 Best Buy Mobile stand-alone stores in the US. Best Buy also operated; 140 Future Shop, 72 Best Buy and 49 Best Buy Mobile stand-alone stores in Canada; 211 Five Star stores in China; and 14 Best Buy stores in Mexico.

Key Dates:

1966:   Richard M. Schulze and a partner establish Sound of Music, Inc., a home and car stereo store in St. Paul, Minnesota.
1971:    Schulze buys out his partner and begins to expand.
1982:   After expanding offerings to include appliances and VCRs, revenues reach $9.3 million.
1983:   Company changes its name to Best Buy Co., Inc.
1984:   Schulze introduces the superstore format.
1985:   Company goes public.
1987:   Best Buy gains a listing on the New York Stock Exchange; revenues reach $239 million from 24 stores.
1989:   Company introduces its Concept II stores, which have a warehouse format and no commissioned sales help.
1993:   Revenues soar past the $1 billion mark, reaching $1.6 billion.
1994:   Larger Concept III stores, with hands-on information displays, are introduced.
1998:   The Concept IV format debuts, featuring more high-tech products, merchandise grouped in such departments as home theater, cash registers throughout the store, and “high touch” areas for digital products where more employee interaction is needed.
1999:   Revenues surpass $10 billion.
2000:  Best Buy relaunches an expanded bestbuy.com web site; Seattle-based Magnolia Hi-Fi, Inc., operator of 13 high-end consumer electronics stores on the West Coast, is acquired for $88 million.
2001:   Best Buy acquires Musicland Stores Corporation, operator of 1,300 music stores, for $685.3 million in cash and assumed debt; also purchases Future Shop Ltd., the largest consumer electronics retailer in Canada, for $368 million.
2003:   Some $500 million in special charges, mainly related to the money-losing Musicland operations, cut profits for the fiscal year to $99 million; Best Buy divests Musicland; Magnolia Hi-Fi is renamed Magnolia Audio Video; Best Buy pays its first dividend.

Best Buy’s Future Strategy

Best Buy’s “Renew Blue” program was introduced at the start of 2013 and the focus of the program is targeted at the following areas: marketing, merchandising, online stores, and employee engagement. Best Buy contends they have made progress in these initiatives.

Best Buy’s Marketing Initiative

Best Buy is focusing on evolving its marketing strategy to more targeted, personalized and relevant customer communication. This strategy including a move away from traditional TV advertising to more relevant digital marketing. It will shift its marketing effort to a targeted approach to customer marketing with more personalized email messages and offers. This is one of Best Buy’s key growth initiatives for the next two years.

Best Buy has one of the largest repositories of customer data derived from individuals’ locations, demographics, browsing histories, and past purchases. has been working on a big data project called Athena. By launching project Athena, the company aims to better engage its customers for its credit card offering and loyalty program.

Merchandising Efforts of Best Buy

Best Buy continues to add differentiated in-store customer experiences in several key categories, including mobile, appliances, and home theater. In the mobile category, Best Buy introduced the selling of new installment billing plans with Sprint and Verizon in Q1 2015, and started selling AT&T’s plans in the ongoing quarter. Best Buy is now the only national retailer to launch installment billing plans with multiple carriers.

It opened two new Magnolia design center stores and aims to add around 20 more by the end of this year. Pacific Kitchen & Home and Magnolia design center stores-within-a-store have outpaced the company’s initial expectations. It claims that customer adoption of these plans has been growing.

Accelerating Online Sales at BestBuy.com

Best Buy aims to update its website to get on par with Amazon and other competitors. As in the past, accelerating growth in its online segment remains one of the main focus. As a percentage of total domestic revenue, online revenue increased to 8.2% versus 6.3% last year. Much of the result was due to increased use of Best Buy coupons, and improved in stock order delivery. In 2013, Best Buy initiated a pilot ship-from-store approach which enables all its distribution centers to handle online orders. In the next 24 months Best Buy aims to further improve its online shopping experience by enhancing search tools, recommendations, and product and price information to make it easier for customers to find and choose products.

Caterpillar Inc. – Construction Equipment Monster

cat-logoThe story of Caterpillar started with the troubles that steam tractors provided to local farmers in California. The steam tractors of the 1890s and early 1900s were extremely heavy, sometimes weighing 1,000 pounds. They often sank into the damp, rich, soft earth of the San Joaquin Valley Delta farmland surrounding Stockton, California. The main problem that steam tractors were facing then was their tendency to get stuck in damp earth. Benjamin Holt attempted to fix the problem by increasing the size and width of the wheels, and producing a wider tractor. But this also made the tractors increasingly complex, expensive and difficult to maintain.

It was then that Holt had a brilliant idea that would be the birth of the modern tractor: the incorporation of steel planks and wheels. Holt received the first patent for a practical continuous track for use with a tractor on December 7, 1907 for his improved “Traction Engine”.

1906 – San Francisco, California
A Holt steam traction engine is used during recovery efforts after the San Francisco Earthquake.
The San Francisco earthquake ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time. Photos taken following the quake and subsequent fire show Holt Steam Traction Engine #37 helping with the cleanup.

Holt started out his business in the early 20th century but it was when he merged his company with Daniel Best’s son, C. L. Best, that Caterpillar Tractor Co. was born. Company photographer Charles Clements was reported to have observed that the tractor crawled like a caterpillar. Some sources attribute this name to British soldiers in July 1907. Whatever the actual origin, Holt seized on the metaphor and Caterpillar became the name of the company.

1914-1918 – Europe
Holt’s track-type tractors play a support role in World War I.
Even before the U.S. formally entered WWI, Holt had shipped 1,200 tractors to England, France and Russia for agricultural purposes. These governments, however, sent the tractors directly to the battlefront where the military put them to work hauling artillery and supplies.
These tractors also provided members of the British army with the inspiration needed to design the tank. Colonel E. D. Swinton had seen Holt’s Caterpillar tractors in action and borrowed their track-laying principle to provide the tank with its form of locomotion.

The Move to Peoria, Ill.

Holt opened up a plant in East Peoria, Illinois on February 2, 1910. The factory began operations with 12 employees. Holt incorporated it as the Holt Caterpillar Company, although he did not trademark the name Caterpillar until August 2, 1910.
The addition of a plant in the Midwest, despite the hefty capital needed to retool the plant, proved so profitable that only two years later the company employed 625 people and was exporting tractors to Argentina, Canada, and Mexico.

cat-trucIn April and May 1925, market leader Holt Caterpillar merged with the financially stronger C. L. Best to form the Caterpillar Tractor Co. By 1929, sales climbed to $52.8 million, and Caterpillar continued to grow throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Caterpillar adopted the diesel engine to replace gasoline engines. During World War II, Caterpillar products found fame with the Seabees. Seabees were Construction Battalions of the United States Navy, who built airfields and other facilities in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Caterpillar ranked 44th among United States corporations in the value of wartime military production contracts.

Caterpillar provides support for the military during World War II.
When war came to the U.S. in December 1941, the U.S. government asked Caterpillar to increase production levels higher than the company had ever achieved before. With the help of its employees, Caterpillar met and exceeded the challenge. From 1942 to 1945, Caterpillar operated seven days a week, doubled its workforce, placed women on jobs in the foundry and assembly lines, manufactured special products, trained and sponsored enlisted men and built approximately 51,000 track-type tractors for the military.

During the post-war construction boom, the company grew at a rapid pace and launched its first venture outside the U.S. in 1950, marking the beginning of Caterpillar’s development into a multinational corporation. Caterpillar machinery is used in the construction, road-building, mining, forestry, energy, transportation and material-handling industries. Caterpillar has a list of some 400 products. Caterpillar’s line of machines range from tracked tractors to hydraulic excavators, backhoe loaders, motor graders, off-highway trucks, wheel loaders, agricultural tractors and locomotives.

The Company has had its share of difficulties in its eight decades of existence. It suffered its first full-year loss during the Great Depression and another one in 1982, during which it almost became bankrupt. At one point the company was losing almost $1 million per day due to a sharp downturn in product demand as competition increased from Japanese rival Komatsu. Caterpillar suffered further when the United States declared an embargo against the Soviet Union after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, causing the company to be unable to sell $400 million worth of pipelaying machinery that had already been built.

1964-1965 – New York
Hundreds of Caterpillar machines help construct the fairgrounds, buildings and highway improvements for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair.
Around 185 Caterpillar machines and engines are at work at any one time during construction of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. Caterpillar also set up an exhibit at the fair which featured a 16-foot long D9 Tractor assembly, a D398 Engine crankshaft, a 10-foot tall wheel scraper tire, a 1673 Truck Engine and illuminated Caterpillar display sign – all of which attracted a lot of attention from fair goers.

cat-engineThe success, though, outweighs the setbacks that the company has suffered during its existence. Caterpillar Inc. has remained one of the world’s most successful companies enjoying continuous growth most especially after the Second World War. This is due to the massive rebuilding campaigns that Europe and Japan needed. In 2008, the company ranked 50th in Fortune Magazine’s Fortune 500 Companies. The company has also moved toward a more sustainable production, being more environment-friendly in its operations.

In 2010, Caterpillar divided its products, services and technologies into three principal lines of business: machinery, engines and financial products for sale to private and governmental entities. Starting in 2011, Caterpillar reports its financials using five business segments: construction industries, resource industries, power systems, financial products, and all other segments. The company currently employs almost a hundred thousand employees, most of which are from overseas, all ruled by the Company’s Code of Worldwide Business Conduct.

More Caterpillar Product Highlights

1969 – U.S.
Caterpillar engines supply power for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Caterpillar engines supplied the power for communications between the Apollo 11 spacecraft and all of the NASA tracking stations around the world. Not only were these communications vital to the safe landing of the spacecraft, but also hearing Neil Armstrong’s first words from the moon would not have been possible without the power provided by Caterpillar engines.
1987-1994 – Osaka, Japan
More than 200 Caterpillar machines work on the first phase of the Kansai International Airport
One of the largest earthmoving projects in the world, it was the first attempt to build an airport more than a stone’s throw from shore. The project required digging mainland soil, dumping it in the bay to form a two-square-mile island, building an airport and constructing a bridge to connect the island to the mainland. Construction began in 1987 and was completed in 1994.
1991 – Kuwait
Around 700 Caterpillar machines help extinguish the 750 oil wells on fire in Kuwait.
When Coalition forces liberated Kuwait in February of 1991, they were confronted with one of the world’s worst environmental disasters. More than six million barrels of oil had spilled into the sea off the Kuwait coast. In the oil fields nearly 750 wells had been set ablaze or were left gushing millions of gallons of crude onto the surrounding desert.
Within days after the liberation, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) aided by Bechtel Group organized the toughest and longest well blowout and firefighting operation in the history of the oil industry. The operation’s ultimate success resulted from the fastest and largest peacetime mobilization of people and machinery ever seen. Caterpillar machines were the principle tools in this operation.
2003 – U.S.
Caterpillar provides the majority of power generation and dealer support during the largest power outage in U.S. history (to this date).
More than 300 backup generators and two megawatt trailer units were trucked to cities such as New York, Cleveland and Detroit to get them up and running again. Trading on Wall Street was uninterrupted thanks to Cat power.
2007-2014 – Panama
Cat machines help construct the expansion of the Panama Canal.
Contractors used 75 Cat machines on just the first two phases of the six-phase project. When complete, the new single-lane, three-step lock system will allow the Panama Canal to accommodate vessels that are not currently transiting the waterway due to their large size.

Panasonic Corporation – Japanese Electronics Leader

Overview of Panasonic Corporation

Panasonic Corporation – formerly Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., sells a wide range of products under the brand worldwide, including plasma and LCD televisions, DVD and Blu-ray Disc recorders and players, camcorders, telephones, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, shavers, projectors, digital cameras, batteries, laptop computers (under the sub-brand Toughbook), CD players and home stereo equipment, fax machines, scanners, printers, electronic white-boards, electronic components and semiconductors.

The brand uses the marketing slogan “Ideas for Life”.

Origin in Japan

The company was founded in 1918 in Osaka, Japan by Konosuke Matsushita and has grown from just 3 employees to over 290,000 people worldwide. Panasonic’s standards are still firmly grounded in the philosophy of company founder Konosuke Matsushita. He began in 1918 by inventing a two-socket light bulb.

matsushita_officeIn 1927 these were followed by a bicycle lamp, which was the first product to carry the National brand.  They started making radios in 1931, still under the National brand.

The brand name Panasonic came along in 1955, when they were expanding into international markets. They discovered the brand name National was already in use so they chose the name Panasonic, initially for their operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

How the name came about is elegantly simple. They were selling radios, and put together the words Pan meaning all, and sonic for sound, so Panasonic simply means all sound. When you think of the modern terms such as surround sound and the like, the early adoption of all sound as a name was pretty good, really

Konosuke Matsushita’s breakthrough led to what is now one of the world’s largest electronics companies. As he built Panasonic Corporation, he never lost sight of the importance of putting the needs of his customers and the public first. Their operations all over the world are guided by certain key objectives. One of the most important of these was established way back in 1929 by our founder:

“Recognizing our responsibilities as industrialists, we will devote ourselves to the progress and development of society and the well-being of people through our business activities, thereby enhancing the quality of life throughout the world.”

Panasonic enters Europe

Panasonic has been operating in Europe since 1962, when it established its first sales office in Hamburg, Germany. The company’s presence has increased throughout Europe following major investment programs in manufacturing and sales operations. Panasonic now employs nearly 15,000 people in manufacturing, sales, R&D and support companies throughout Europe.

The company is renamed

On January 10, 2008, Matsushita announced that it intended to change the company name to Panasonic Corporation. The proposal to change the company’s name was approved at the firm’s annual shareholder’s meeting on June 26 and the name took effect from October 1, 2008. In parallel the “National” brand, which had been used by the company in Japan for non-audio/visual products (mostly home appliances), was phased out and replaced with the Panasonic brand by March 2010.

Panasonic resent day operations

Today Panasonic (Matsushita Electric Industrial Company Limited) is one of the largest electronic product manufacturers in the world, comprised of over 600 companies.

They manufacture and market over 15,000 products under brands such as Panasonic, National, Technics, and Quasar all over the world.

Company profile

Head Office Location:
1006, Kadoma, Kadoma City, Osaka 571-8501, Japan

Tel. 81-6-6908-1121

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