Sony advises: Do not use Sony Connect software, music application causes ‘major problems’

“Sony is advising consumers not to use software supplied with its new range of digital music players after hundreds of users complained that it caused their computers to crash.
The new Sony MP3 Walkman was billed as the company’s long-awaited answer to the iPod and became one of the biggest-selling electrical items for Christmas,” Simon de Bruxelles reports for The Times Online. “But Sony admitted that the software sold with the player has ‘major problems,’ which has left many owners unable to use the players. The Connect Player programme is designed to transfer music from the user’s computer to the player and to connect them to Sony’s music sales website. But distraught buyers have been posting messages on websites cursing Sony. Others have returned their £199 players for a refund.”

“A woman called Amy wrote that her boyfriend bought her the Sony player for Christmas after she asked for an iPod. She said: ‘After three bottles of wine, 60 fags and trying all night to get some songs on the thing, me and my boyfriend are over. This morning I tried again, failing and throwing the mouse at the wall. Help!’ John Dolan, a software designer from Cambridge, bought the players as presents for his 12-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son. He spent the two weeks before Christmas trying, without success, to get them to work properly,” de Bruxelles reports.

“Sony, the company that began the portable music revolution with the cassette tape-playing Walkman in 1979, was a late entrant in the race to take on the iPod. It finally produced its new Walkman range in Europe and Japan in early November,” de Bruxelles reports. “The players were an instant success. Both the 6gb NW-A1000 and the 20gb NW-A3000 flew off the shelves despite costing £149 and £199 respectively. Unfortunately for a significant number of purchasers, the bundled software refused to work. Users complained that they were unable to get the Connect Player programme to load on to their computers. Others found their machines crashing or got bored waiting hours for signs of life.”

Full article here.
Unsurprisingly (because there is none), de Bruxelles offers no proof to back up his claim that Sony’s MP3 Walkman “became one of the biggest-selling electrical items for Christmas.” Perhaps he defines “biggest-selling” in a unique way; perhaps “biggest-selling” to him means “most-defective,” least-desired,” “highly-returned,” or something similar? “Biggest selling” in stores that had already run out of iPods, maybe? Without sources or numbers, we can only guess. According to the proof-averse de Bruxelles, “both the 6gb NW-A1000 and the 20gb NW-A3000 flew off the shelves” and were “an instant success.” One can only surmise that retailers were wiping them off their own shelves poste-haste in clouds of dust in order to make room for more iPods. Certainly, the Sony players and the Windows-only Connect software were “instantly successful” in helping people realize that they should’ve bought an iPod and downloaded iTunes instead. Why waste money on bad fakes when you can have the real thing?

Just like Macintosh: iPod+iTunes. Because life’s too short.

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Related articles:
Sony reorgs floundering Connect digital music outfit – January 20, 2006
Sony’s new Windows-only ‘Connect Player’ bears eerie resemblance to Apple iTunes – September 09, 2005
Apple wins iTunes interface patent – May 11, 2004
Too little, too late? Sony getting killed by Apple in digital audio – September 09, 2005
Also-ran MP3 player makers miffed by Apple’s impossibly low price for iPod nano – September 09, 2005
Sony and Warner holding out on Apple iTunes Music Store Australia – September 08, 2005
Sony Connect President in wake of iPod nano: ‘we will accelerate our challenge’ to Apple iPod – September 08, 2005
Apple close to deal with Sony for ‘online music download service for Japanese iPod users’ – September 05, 2005
Bad news for Sony: millions worldwide choosing Apple iPods – August 22, 2005
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 debut more bad news for Sony – August 04, 2005
Sony debuts US$199 1GB iPod shuffle killer, bills it ‘small as a pack of gum’ – July 06, 2005
Sony BMG and EMI try to force Apple to ‘open’ iPod with iPod-incompatible CDs – June 20, 2005

38 Comments

  1. This is truly painful to watch. Sure, Sony blew it so many times – first with letting Apple take away the portable music player market why their content and electronics divisions dickered; their initial, poor music jukebox/download offering – the iTunes-clone connect; then the DRM brouhaha, now this.

    I’m happy the world is seeing how much quality Apple is bringing to the market, really. But this is so embarrassing for Sony. And I just can’t get into the scheudenfreude (sic) spirit anymore.

  2. Sony User Comment: ‘I am really disappointed. The player itself is fantastic, but what use is it if I can’t get any music on it?’

    Well … That statement says it all. It’s Great and it doesn’t work.

    I’ll never understand that kind of mentality.

    In my world if something doesn’t work as advertised – it isn’t so great.

    But then I live in an Apple world where things work 99.9% of the time.

  3. iPod killer commits hari-kari?

    As far as “best selling”, well maybe it was a best seller in Europe. Remember the reports before the holiday that Apple was favoring US retailers over those in other countries when it came to allocating iPods?

  4. “She said: ‘After three bottles of wine, 60 fags and trying all night to get some songs on the thing, me and my boyfriend are over.”

    This reads a hell of a lot differently here in the USA. I know my girlfriend would dump me if I had 3 bottles of wine and 60 fags (not that there’s anything wrong with that) while she was busy trying to deal with her nonPod.

    …and that is why we don’t pick up cigarettes when we visit wee Britain.

  5. qka, take it from me: All of europe bought each other iPods for Christmas!We know quality here in the old world ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    Now would be a great time to get rid of any leftover Sony shares by the way. How many more beatings can these guys take before they throw in the towel? Ugly times for Sony…very ugly.

    MDN Magic Word: “growth” as in: With Sony acting more stupid everyday, GROWTH is even more easy for Apple.

  6. This nstory made me cringe. Even if they made a buying mistake, it really sucks to have that sort of experience with something that should just work.

    For anyone who continues to say that the original iPod was nothing special because it was made of essentially off the shelf parts, what does this story say about supposedly tech-savvy Sony? Maybe a real player is not so simple to be done well? Or how quickly can the mighty fall?

  7. > Both the 6gb NW-A1000 and the 20gb NW-A3000…

    Are Sony & other PC companies completely unable come up w/ any interesting, meaningful or creative product names…? “Walkman” would never have become a hit w/ if it had been called one of _these_… How could I as a consumer walk into a store and request one of these things…?

  8. HAR HAR HAR, of course

    But you see this is the problem, all Windows software pretty much works like crapola.

    People are used to it.

    But now that iTunes came along, it sudden dawned on people that software ought to work right and be easy to use.

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