Apple blasts Sony on misleading Walkman song capacity claims

Apple Computer Inc., aiming to protect the lead of its iPod digital music player, launched a verbal strike against rival Sony Corp.’s new Network Walkman music player, which is designed to be an iPod killer,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

“In a prepared statement, Apple said Sony isn’t accurately depicting the song capacity of its new 20-gigabyte Network Walkman. While Sony says the device can hold 13,000 tracks, Apple alleges that the Japanese electronics giant, in calculating the storage capacity of the Network Walkman, is using songs that are compressed into digital files of inferior fidelity to those that Apple uses to calculate how many songs the iPod can hold. (Digital music of lower quality takes up less storage but delivers poorer sound than high-quality songs.) As a result, Apple said, Sony’s Walkman actually holds only 4,800 songs that have been compressed into a higher quality format,” WSJ reports.

“‘We’re disappointed that Sony, which is new to this market, has decided to make their first impression by attempting to mislead the press and customers,’ Apple said in a statement. ‘Sony chose to play marketing games so we wanted to set things right so that people could compare the devices apples to apples,’ said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of hardware product marketing,” WSJ reports. “Sony reacted angrily to Apple’s statement. Todd Schrader, Sony Electronics’ vice president of portable audio products, said the ‘Walkman has always been about choice.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Taking a page out of the Microsoft playbook, Sony is playing on the ignorance of the general public. Apple is right to correct Sony’s misleading claims publicly. If Sony has to stoop so low immediately at the product’s introduction, they must be very desperate indeed.


  1. Now what can they say about battery life? Higher bitrate spins HD more in the long run.

    “Greg Joswiak reacted with emotions bordering on rage. Where do they get this stuff?” – Michael

    Yeah, especially when they quoted MacCentral. Were they there during the interview, since certainly MacCentral article never mention the word ‘rage’.

    ‘Walkman has always been about choice.’ – Sony

    And that is why you can choose any codecs as long as it is ATRAC3.

  2. “SONY executives in a apparant attempt to regain honor when faced with their boldface lies by Apple today, have stripped naked and pierced their genitals with a #20 fish hook and allowed themselves to be dragged around Tokoyo by taxi cab.”


  3. Truly this is an embarrassment for Sony and I’ll bet that a few insiders are sharpening their knives. Sony Connect and WalkMan and the whole ATRAC3 idea sounded good on paper but was fatally flawed. The lie is a sign of current desperation. An irritated Apple slapped them in the face. This Shredder [of truth] fellow responded from a position of stress — perhaps his neck is on the line.

    >Walkman has always been about choice

    Customers aren’t that stupid. They’ll Walk Away. Hopefully Sony is smart enough to clean house.

  4. haha. i love how they talk about the almighty Walkman brand…

    that was like 30 years ago.. and now they want to talk about ‘waiting until we had it just right’..

    that’s the worst business move i’ve ever heard of.. BE LIKE MICROSOFT.. get it right on the 3rd version..

    don’t wait until people think you’re asleep to release sth..

  5. Sony this, Sony that. Yes, the devices are all made in China or Taiwan…

    Actually Malaysia, for many years now.

    “Atrac3 by the consumer electronic giant Sony was just crushed in this comparison. Sony has originally developed the Atrac codecs for the MiniDisc players. Microsoft’s WMA scored the second lowest points in this test and one has to wonder why anyone should use this format.”

    I’m wondering myself why anyone would want WMA…

  6. …has always been about choice:

    Sony Connect:
    Only for PC
    Only for I.E. Vs. 5.5+
    Only ATRAC3
    Only for Sony compatible devices

    Sony customers (all seven of them) should be pleased.

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