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 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 Sony's 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, Sony's 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.