“In what must be a low point for Sony and for the Japanese consumer electronics industry in general, Apple has announced that it now outsells Sony for music players, the first time that Sony has been outsold on home territory,” Terrie Lloyd writes for Japan Today. “According to Business Computer News (BCN), iPod sales now account for about 60% of the entire market of portable music player sales, including CD, tape, and MD players combined. The Apple domination became complete in July, with the launch of its iTunes music store, in competion with Sony’s Mora music download website. Apparently the availability of a huge number of titles, more than 1m tunes, coupled with lower prices, around 150 yen versus Mora’s 200 yen, have helped turn Japanese consumers on to the value proposition which is Apple.”
Lloyd writes, “Sony is trying to fight back, with new MP3 Walkmans priced close to the Apple models, such as 29,000 yen for a 6GB unit, and they’ve cut the pricing of Mora online songs by 15% recently. However, this is a lame-ass effort, given that the iPod is sexier, smaller, and cheaper, and since Mora only has a catalog of 200,000 tunes, users are flocking to the iTunes site instead. Even Sony’s own recording artists are complaining about Sony withholding its catalog from Apple Japan, and people like Motoharu Sano are signing up directly with Apple.”
Lloyd writes, “Not just Sony, but all the Japanese manufacturers have been caught flat-footed by the sudden explosion in music players and online entertainment. A quick look in the stores shows an overpriced Toshiba 40GB Gigabeat, a unit that is well designed and sounds OK, selling for 44,000 yen, while in the next showcase over, the much more capable 60GB iPod Photo is available for just a fraction more at 46,000 yen. We wonder if Toshiba actually sells any Gigabeats and why they think consumers wouldn’t buy an iPod instead. Have they lost their ability to market properly, even here at home in Japan?”
Full article here.
Terrie Lloyd is the founder of DaiJob, Inc. He also writes a weekly newsletter for entrepreneurs and business people about business and political opportunities in Japan. You can find the newsletter at http://www.terrie.com
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It’s too late. And the hardware device is only part of the story. Companies that are mismanaged to the point that they’re still hoping against hope about competing with Apple would need to be able to do software well, too. Sony can’t. You know, there’s a reason we didn’t bother registering WalkmanDailyNews.com.
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