“When Apple Computer’s iPod soared to prominence a few years ago, I predicted that it was only a matter of time before the competition caught up and even surpassed that device. Boy, was I wrong. Despite an almost constant onslaught of products from companies such as Creative, iRiver, and Rio, Apple has maintained and even extended its lead. Today, the iPod is the de facto standard for portable audio and a must-have fashion accessory for teenagers, college students, and commuting professionals,” Paul Thurrott writes for Connected Home Media.
“Lost amid all the iPod hoopla, curiously, is Sony, which started the portable audio craze in the late 1970s with its seminal Walkman cassette-based device. Sony eventually expanded its Walkman line to include CD-based devices and controlled the market it invented for over 20 years. But Sony stumbled badly in the digital age. The problem was that Sony owned both content (movie and music businesses) and delivery (Walkman) systems. Sony’s content-creation businesses wanted Sony’s electronics division to make sure that none of their content was being stolen with Sony devices. Thus, Sony’s first digital Walkman products were sad jokes, limited to a proprietary Sony audio format called ATRAC,” Thurrott writes. “The end result was that Apple was able to waltz into a market it didn’t even fully understand at first and walk away with the crown, thanks to great design and customer research. Sony, the one-time king, could only watch in horror as Apple sold millions and millions of iPods, and as its own digital Walkman products faltered in the market.”
Thurrott looks at Sony’s “horribly named Network Walkman Digital Music Player NW-E500 series” and writes, “Without understanding the limitations of the Sony Network Walkman, you might see its razzle-dazzle display and assume the iPod had finally met its match. Don’t be confused. The overall user experience of the Sony Network Walkman is abysmal. For the time being, at least, Apple has nothing to fear. My advice is to stick with the surprisingly affordable iPod shuffle—which is near perfect, in my opinion—or check out a Creative MuVo if you absolutely must have a screen.
Full article here.
Related MacDailyNews articles:
iTunes Music Store Japan? Apple to hold ‘special music event’ in Tokyo on August 4 – July 26, 2005
Sony grabs Japan flash-based music player lead from Apple ahead of Japanese iTunes Music Store – July 14, 2005
Sony debuts US$199 1GB iPod shuffle killer, bills it ‘small as a pack of gum’ – July 06, 2005
Sony’s portable music player sales tumble in face of Apple’s iPod success – January 28, 2005
Mossberg: Sony Walkman ‘laborious, weak, lousy, confusing, stinks’ vs. Apple iPod – July 28, 2004
Washington Post: Sony’s internet music service ‘is an embarrassment to the company that gave the world the Walkman – May 29, 2004