Bad news for Sony: millions worldwide choosing Apple iPods

“What! You haven’t got an iPod? Millions worldwide are choosing to listen to Apple iPods and that’s bad news for Sony,” Justin McCurry reports from Tokyo for The Age. “The telltale white wires protruding from dozens of ears on a busy Tokyo street say it all: these are heady days for Apple in Japan. In a world once dominated by Sony, Apple’s iPod leads the market in digital music players, with a 36 per cent stake against Sony’s 22 per cent.”

“For an already embattled Sony, more unwelcome news arrived earlier this month in the form of Apple’s long-anticipated launch of the Japanese version of the iTunes online music store,” McCurry reports. “Within four days, iTunes Japan had sold a million songs, a feat that took a week in the United States. By contrast, Mora, the online music site affiliated with Sony, delivers 450,000 downloads a month.”

“Analysts agree that the momentum is with the visitor from California… Sony, the inventor of the Walkman is not panicking just yet. The iPod may be the most popular hard-drive player in Japan but among smaller, flash-memory players, Sony leads the Japanese market ahead of the iPod shuffle, which is best suited to online downloads and consequently suffered from iTunes’ late introduction,” McCurry reports. “‘I don’t know if talk of Apple dominance is really 100 per cent true,’ says David Yang, a spokesman for Sony Corporate Communications.'”

Full article here.
It will be interesting to see how Japan’s flash-based player market shakes out now that Apple’s iTunes Music Store Japan is up and running.

Related articles:
Sony to combat music market ‘maestro’ Apple Computer with ‘Walkman Beans’ – August 18, 2005
Musicians stage mutiny against Sony, defiantly offer music via Apple’s iTunes Music Store – August 10, 2005
Apple’s Japan iTunes Music Store sells one million songs in first four days – August 07, 2005
Apple’s iTunes Music Store offers Japan’s largest library; Napster plans April 2006 launch in Japan – August 04, 2005
Apple’s Japan iTunes Music Store debut more bad news for Sony – August 04, 2005
Apple launches iTunes Music Store in Japan – August 03, 2005
Sony grabs Japan flash-based music player lead from Apple ahead of Japanese iTunes Music Store – July 14, 2005


  1. Here’s why subscription services are good news for Apple: In marketing terms, they are not “sticky”.

    “Stickiness” refers to the relative ease of the consumer to switch products. Consider the razor and the blades that fit that brand and only that brand of razor. (this is the classic marketing example of stickiness.)

    But back to Apple…if I buy one of these Sony flash players and sign up for Yahoo! or Napster To-Go subscription services, I have spent about $100 and $5 – 15/mo. on testing the digital music waters.

    When my Sony device fails/is too small/isn’t cool anymore, I can upgrade to an iPod easily – no music to move (remmember, I was renting it for $5 – 15 / mo.) and so for $150 – 250 someone can try digital music for one year with a Sony device and a subscription service, then if/when they like it, they can get into an iPod and iTMS songs they can own.

    I don’t see this as bad for Apple. It would just be great if Apple can make that transition a smooth one for ethe 20% non-iPod owners out there.

    MDN: week

  2. It’s all about the Sony Walkman Bean®, baby!

    Sony’s Walkman Bean® is going to kick the iPod’s ass! I am serious!!

    The iPod no longer has a chance. The ‘Bean’ is going to catapult Sony into the number one slot for all consumer electronic devices and ensure Sony’s total World Domination®.

    You heard it here first.

  3. Speaking of iTunes Japan and stuff … What? you haven’t got an iTunes Japan New Music Wednesday newsletter? Well, cripes. What kinda Apple watchers are we? Here it is. All unique and everything. Let’s get it!

    You know what to do, eh? Put your email twice and click the button. Ummm .. spose we’ll be seeing a New Music Wednesday Podcast soon? Wouldn’t that be great?

  4. In Asia screens and general features whether they are necessarry or not are much more important than in the West where quality, ease of use, design elegance and sophistication have a far higher value to the average consumer. That said the iPod is still market leader in Japan.

    I suspect that the next wave will introduce bigger capacities in the fleash players and due to the extra time to assess the market at this end a superior navoigation setup to the majority of the opposition. Along with the store and a serious makeover for the full range of iPods quite soon i suspect that should seriously give Sony a kick in the bollocks and a few other Asian companies in their home markets too most likely.

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