Apple’s Japan iTunes Music Store debut more bad news for Sony

“Apple launched its iTunes music store in Japan on Thursday, increasing competition for Sony in its home territory, as Standard & Poor’s warned of a possible ratings downgrade for the electronics and entertainment group,” Michiyo Nakamoto reports for FT.com. “The widely anticipated start of iTunes in the world’s second largest music market is expected to win even more users over to Apple’s iPod digital music player, which has taken the lead over Sony in a market that used to be the Japanese company’s domain.”

“The fresh challenge to Sony comes as the inventor of the portable audio player suffered a difficult first quarter and lowered its full-year operating profits by 85 per cent. Standard & Poor’s said it had put the electronics and entertainment group’s ratings on credit watch with negative implications. ‘Depending on progress in cost cutting and enhancement of its product development capability, Sony may suffer prolonged stagnancy in profit,’ said Fusako Nagao, S&P credit analyst,” Nakamoto reports. “Although this year’s downturn is mainly attributed to the sluggish TV business, Sony has also struggled in the audio market. This could be worsened by the arrival of the iTunes in Japan. Apple said it would offer 1 million songs for Y150 or Y200 a piece and gradually increase the number of tunes available. Sony’s music downloading service, Mora, which is operated as a joint venture with other groups, had 200,000 songs available in May and charges Y210 per song.”

Nakamoto reports, “Apple has a 36 per cent share of Japan’s portable music player market, while Sony has taken the number two position, with a 22 per cent share, according to the US group. Analysts believe Sony will struggle to compete with its US rival.”

Full article here.

Related articles:
Apple launches iTunes Music Store in Japan – August 03, 2005
iTunes Music Store Japan? Apple to hold ‘special music event’ in Tokyo on August 4 – July 26, 2005
Apple to launch iTunes Music Store in Japan this August – July 15, 2005
Sony grabs Japan flash-based music player lead from Apple ahead of Japanese iTunes Music Store – July 14, 2005
Reports: Apple to launch Japanese iTunes Music Store in ‘near future’ – April 13, 2005

10 Comments

  1. Most of Sony’s 22 percent is the flash players. They are pretty nice but only one piece of the puzzle. You need iTunes, and ITMS to make it all work.

    I still think it sucks that only in Japan was Apple forced to have two different prices. That is just me tho, the average Japanese consumer will be very accepting as they are used to things like this. At least the 200 yen songs only comprise 10 percent or so of the whole (of course it will be the most popular 10 percent)

  2. That’s one of the problems with companies that produce both creative content and consumer electronics. GE (which owns NBC/Universal) has the same issues at times. Every once in a while, the hardware side comes out with a product that has the capability to hurt the sales and distrubution of the content side, which makes the company as a whole look bipolar.

    So while Apple and Sony Consumer Electronics are playing nice by partnering on the ‘Year of HD’ and other initiatives, there is equally harsh treatment and enmity from the Sony/Columbia/EMI camp toward iPod and iTunes. Good thing it’s just business, otherwise I’d be led to believe there’s something wrong with this behavior!!

    I’m just glad that Steve has the right people around him in Cupertino and Emeryville, so that Apple and Pixar can run as absolutely separate entities and avoid this sort of mess. Being a hardware company that also makes software is bad enough… Imagine the cluster@#$% that an Apple/Pixar merger would produce!!

  3. Hmm. Apple owning Sony…

    That would mean owning Playstation, which would be competing head to head with Xbox.

    That would mean owning the Sony Library as well.

    Well, It’s nice to think about anyway.

  4. Apple’s iPods beat Sony’s gizmos WITHOUT iTunes integration. Imagine how the market share landscape will change now that the full synergic package is available.

    Bye bye Sony.

    BTW, could the 200Yen price be for Sony Music’s tunes only. That would be so funny.

  5. It might be bad news for Sony in Japan, but it would appear that it’s no news at all in the United States of America. At least not if the Google News headline directory for the USA is any indicator.

    What I’m saying is that Google News (US) has not been presenting this story on the front page of it’s online headline directory in the States. Google News for other countries? Yes, like crazy. But not in the States.

    Google appears to be intentionally keeping the Apple Japan announcements suppressed in America. The Stones story isn’t appearing either. Nor is the Japanese car manufacturer’s iPod story. All of them have been consistantly buried deep in the indexes in the US Google News headlines while at the same time being fully featured in other countries.

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