Sony’s NAND flash deal with Samsung could signal push to take on Apple iPod… again

“Sony could be the next growth engine for the red-hot market for flash memory. On Monday, South Korea’s Samsung Electronics disclosed that it may sell flash chips to the consumer electronics giant, as well as other ‘major companies.’ The announcement followed reports in the Korean press that Samsung, the world’s No. 1 memory chip maker, was nearing a deal to supply Sony with flash chips for a new line of MP3 players in the first half of next year. According to the report, the deal would exceed the deal Samsung signed last month with Apple Computer,” Alexei Oreskovic reports for TheStreet.com. “In November, Apple announced that it was preordering $1.25 billion worth of flash chips from a variety of suppliers, including Samsung, Toshiba and Hynix (it’s unclear what portion of the deal Samsung has). At the same time, Intel and Micron announced that they were forming a joint venture to produce flash memory chips, with a $500 million order from Apple already on the books.”

“With Apple’s iPod in hot demand, the computer maker is moving to ensure that it has a reliable supply of the memory used in its portable music players. While earlier versions of the iPod stored an individual’s music on miniature hard drives, newer versions such as the iPod nano rely on flash memory chips,” Oreskovic reports. “Sony, which invented the portable music category with its iconic Walkman, has been frustrated in its efforts to make money in the growing market for digital MP3 players. The company has a line of MP3 players graced with the Walkman brand, but the products have yet to capture consumers’ attention the way Apple’s iPods have. The news about the flash memory contract could signal that the company is planning a major push to take on Apple in the MP3 player business.”

Full article here.
Sony makes MP3 players? This sounds like a nefarious plan concocted to tie up a portion of the world’s supply of NAND flash within plastic peggable dust collectors on retail store shelves worldwide.

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19 Comments

  1. seems all sony can do of late is talk the talk. but can they walk the walk? none of their industrial design points to anything close to apple’s in terms of quality, aethetics or ease of use.

  2. bottom line.. it was illegal for Apple to do it, then it’s illegal for anyone else to do it…

    i’m unsure of the details but.. Apple was accused of unfair tactics when they arranged to buy up a shitload of RAM.. same goes for anyone else..

  3. I’d like to VOICE a possible chink in Apple’s iPod armor.

    If Sony and MSFT partner to create a low cost Digital Music player which would be given away a la cell phones when someone subscribes to a WMA subscription plan, it could make some inroads with teens who have to rely on Mom and Dad for a player but could afford a monthly subscription plan with the cost of the player baked in.

    This would get that ever-important segment using WMA products and perhaps building a library (though that is in contradiction to the subscription model). In any case, it costs Sony and MSFT some bucks but they would no doubt be happy to break even or tak e asmall loss if it means erroding some of Apple’s ever increasing market share in Digital Music Platers.

    On a related note, it will be interesting to see the iPods DMP market penetration post Christmas ’05 sales.

  4. i think sony could partner with the devil ( read: MS ) in order to dethrone apple.

    Sony has lost it’s mojo, now they have to make a really great product to compete and i don’t think they can.

    any insides on iPode sales?

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