Recurring joke: Sony preps ‘iPod Killer’ – again

“Sony is preparing to take another swing at Apple Computer’s iPod digital music player, a top Sony executive said today. The company is developing a new music player that will go on sale in the U.S. and other markets over the next year, alongside a companion download service and software, said Takao Yuhara, senior vice president of Sony, at a briefing with reporters in Tokyo. The player will be ‘typically Sony,’ he said,” Martyn Williams reports for IDG News Service. “Apple has a commanding lead in the music player market and is particularly strong in the U.S., where it’s estimated to command more than 80 percent share… The new player will be launched within the current fiscal year, which ends in March 2007, Yuhara said.”

“Sony sold 4.5 million digital music players in the year to March, and expects this to rise to 5.5 million in the current year, the company said Thursday when it announced its financial results. In contrast, Apple shipped 8.5 million iPods in the first three months of this year alone, it said earlier this month,” Williams reports. “Sales of all audio products at Sony fell 6.2 percent in the last year.”

Full article here.

“Sony reported Thursday that losses for the January-March quarter widened to 66.5 billion yen ($581 million), worse than the 56.5 billion yen loss it marked the same period the previous year. Massive restructuring costs, as well as research and development costs for its usually profitable game division, were behind the red ink,” The Associated Press reports. “Sony shares tumbled 5 percent Friday… Yuhara said Sony planned to introduce a portable music player that will compete against Apple Computer Inc.’s iPod in the U.S. market within the current fiscal year through March 2007… He declined to give other details but said it will link with new kinds of music download services to win over American buyers.”

Full article here.
Typically Sony? As in, overstating capacity by measuring songs encoded bit rates whose quality approaches AM radio under a bridge? Or “typically Sony” as in creating goofy proprietary media formats that nobody uses? Or “typically Sony” as in failing to come up with an “iPod killer” for over half a decade and counting? Sony needed to give it up quite some time ago. It’s so far past too late in the digital music player market, that it’s now not even a joke. It’s just sad and perplexing. Concentrate on your TV business before Samsung buries your completely like Apple has in digital music players and online music services. Work on finally shipping the PlayStation 3. Play to your current strengths. Duh, forget about music, Sony: you lost that market long ago.

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Related articles:
BusinessWeek: Apple’s iPod+iTunes Store ‘kicking the stuffing out of Sony’ – March 03, 2006
More blood on Apple iPod’s Click Wheel: Sony’s Walkman Bean is cooked – February 13, 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
Apple tramples Sony in Japan: iPod grabs 60-percent share of DMP market, Sony drops under 10-percent – December 22, 2005
Sony’s quarterly profit drops by nearly half – October 27, 2005


  1. Sony,

    Give it up already. How many “Beans” did you landfill? MDN’s right. Stop beating your head against the wall. You lost a long time ago.

    There’s a point where you have to decide to stop wasting resources, Sony.

  2. A Few Sony Marketing Ideas:

    Balkman – high capacity but it sometimes skips
    Talkman – comes preloaded with Dr. Phil shows
    Salkman – delivers a vaccine through the earbuds
    Caulkman – it’s waterproof
    Chalkman – it’s not waterproof
    Darkman – an embarrassment for Liam Neeson but a career highlight for Larry Drake
    Falkman – only plays pub songs that make fun of Argentina
    Walkman 2006 – plays subsonic signals that cause your brain to experience deja vu (all over again)

  3. With so many people telling Sony to shove their players up their @%$, what design could be more perfect that the nicely rounded Walkman Bean??

    A new player launched by Mar 2007… along with ANOTHER new software service to follow the Connect debacle?

    Focus on PS3, Sony–something I actually want to buy!

  4. Those of you who are demanding Sony to “give up” on their music business, just as the author of this article has, keep in mind that the same arguement can be said about Apple and its computer business. Apple “lost” the OS/platform war long ago. However, even with about 2% marketshare, Apple is still doing great, so does that mean Apple needs to give it up?

    Also, it’s nice to have companies like Sony around constantly claiming to have the “iPod killer” right around the corner to keep Apple on its toes. Without them, Apple could just become lazy and uninnovative, a bit like Microsoft.

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