BusinessWeek: Apple’s iPod+iTunes Store ‘kicking the stuffing out of Sony’

“It might have been a coincidence, but it still must have hurt. Sony Corp. last fall booked a Tokyo nightclub for the unveiling of its latest Walkman music players. But halfway around the globe in San Francisco, just hours before Sony turned on the strobe lights, Apple Computer Inc. introduced the business-card-sized iPod nano. Although the nano isn’t aimed at precisely the same market as the new Walkman, many saw the confluence of events as deeply symbolic: Here was the Japanese electronics giant that had pioneered the portable music market 26 years ago taking yet another body blow in a fight that it should have dominated,” BusinessWeek reports. “Today, although iPod is still kicking the stuffing out of Walkman, Sony’s offering is finally putting up a decent fight. In January, Apple had 45% of the Japanese market for digital music players, vs. 15% for Sony. That’s a modest improvement for the Japanese company, from the 53%/11% split a month before the new Walkman hit store shelves, according to research firm BCN Ranking.”

In the United States, Apple’s iPod “has 74% of the U.S. market, compared with Sony’s 2% — and even offerings from smaller rivals such as SanDisk, Creative Technology, and iriver, according to researcher NPD Intellect,” BusinessWeek reports. ‘the new Walkman has some serious disadvantages. About the size of a deck of cards, the $280 NW-A3000 Walkman is bigger than the $300 iPod, but it offers just 20 GB of storage space (enough for about 5,000 songs) compared with the Apple machine’s 30 GB. And Sony’s Connect music site in the U.S. is no match for Apple’s user-friendly iTunes software and music store. “The new Walkman is better than what Sony had before, but I don’t think that many people are going to go out and buy one,” says Ming-Kai Cheng, an analyst at brokerage CLSA. And with the latest iPods offering video, the music-only Walkman has more catching up to do… The iPod’s elegant click-wheel, simple software, and countless adapters to plug into a car or home stereo have helped give Apple an edge, too. In 2005, Apple shipped more than 32 million iPods worldwide, says researcher Gartner Dataquest — seven times Sony’s forecast for the Walkman for its fiscal year ending Mar. 31. Facing numbers like that, even a distant No. 2 might well be considered a victory for Sony.”

Full article here.

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Related articles:
Apple iPod causes paradigm shift, home stereo makers like Sony to add iPod connectivity – March 01, 2006
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: Sony’s Walkman Bean is cooked – February 13, 2006
Former Apple QuickTme chief faces big challenges as Sony’s software czar – February 01, 2006
Analyst: What battle for control of digital home? Apple has already won – January 27, 2006
Bear Stearns analyst: ‘Apple is becoming what Sony always wanted to be’ – January 27, 2006
Sony advises: Do not use Sony Connect software, music application causes ‘major problems’ – January 23, 2006
Sony BMG caves, signs on Apple’s dotted line for Australian iTunes Music Store – January 18, 2006
Sony BMG rootkit settlement may offer free Apple iTunes albums as compensation – December 29, 2005
Apple tramples Sony in Japan: iPod grabs 60-percent share of DMP market, Sony drops under 10-percent – December 22, 2005
Sony’s new Windows-only ‘Connect Player’ bears eerie resemblance to Apple iTunes – September 09, 2005
Too little, too late? Sony getting killed by Apple in digital audio – September 09, 2005


  1. But does this article also show that things are slowing down for the ipod at least in japan? 53% to 45% of the market, but did the market grow and how much? It’s hard to tell with this info.

    I think as long as apple continues to be a moving target, adding useful features like video, they’ll continue to lead.

    (PS. no need for Asian accent jokes, though)

  2. What do you call a lady with one leg shorter than the other?


    What do you call a Chinese lady with one leg shorter then the other?


    Why am I telling jokes in this thread?

    I don’t know, but it seemed to fit…

  3. SONY Deserves it, they have been ignorant, they have been abusing me, i was a SONY fan ( still am but only partially )

    I was forced to get an ugly black SONY desktop which was heavy as mountain everest.

    My bird had a heart attack one day thinking it was a hawk wanting to eat it.

    I would have nightmares at nite staring at the black tower on my desk, its just scary.

    SONY’s problem is, they ignore the customer, the people in charge just go ” oh okay i like this, make it black ” their designs are pathetic to, remember the last LCD they had ( they still do ) its like a monitor with a jaw touching the desk.. how are you suppose to keep that clean… YUCK

    SONY’s technology is good but their arrogance is killing them.

    Today i noticed sony is offering a computer replacement program , in which you get to sell your old sony laptop to sony and they give you few bucks.

    Which is something cheap companies such as GATEWAY does

    SONY is a small company they they are making the same mistakes as a big company such as microsoft, which is unhealthy and will prevent growth.

  4. “My bird had a heart attack one day thinking it was a hawk wanting to eat it.”

    That would be an excellent subject for a short film. Or even a Pixar short.
    I’ll make the popcorn.

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  5. Shame on all of you for your racial slurs. Aren’t tech people supposed to be smart and/or enlightened? This is 1940’s-style xenophobic “humor” that has no place here. Keep your caricatures to yourselves.

  6. Yo, Fwed — Even “Asians” can laugh at themselves. GASP!

    I know that’s “shocking” to you, but . . . HORROR! . . . it’s TRUE!!!!

    That’s why they call us “round eyes”. Because WE ARE!!

    And they say we smell like dairy. Because WE DO!!

    And as a round-eyed dairy eater, I think it’s hilarious.


  7. Japanese people think they are superrior and they see Americans as ‘dumb people’.

    That is why they do not like suggestions and end up coming with stupid designs for Sony

    They are like 5 feet tall, when they design a 10 inch laptop, to them its “HUGE”

  8. I am so tired of these wildly varying market share numbers, each one thrown out at fact. Does the iPod have 60%, 70%, 80%? I’ve heard all three number. Sometimes iTMS has 80%, sometimes close to 90%. Yesterday we were hearing that the iPod has 51% of the Japanese market. Today it’s 45%. I don’t know what the hell to believe. Oh well, at least all the numbers are good for Apple.

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