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July 14, 2005

Sony Knocks Apple Into 2nd Place in Japan

Yahoo: Apparently, Sony's new lineup of digital music players are slowly starting to slice into the popularity of Apple's iPod in Japan. Several of the new models are equipped with flash memory chips and hard disk drives capable of holding thousands of songs. The article reports that gains in the Japanese market have come primarily from one line of flash memory players that have won over consumers with a long-lasting battery which can play up to 50 hours on one charge as well as a stylish design (i.e. rounded body and a display to view what music is playing.)

"While Apple remains the top seller of hard drive players in Japan, there's been a decisive momentum swing in the Japanese market, with Sony securing the top position for flash memory players in both May and June, knocking Apple and its iPod shuffle device into second place." According to market research company BCN, Sony's share of the Japanese market for flash memory players went from just 4 percent in March to 16 percent in April and shot up to 27 percent in May and June. Apple's share has fallen to under 20 percent.

One challenge to overcome is the fact that Sony doesn't currently have a product to go head-to-head with Apple's hot-selling iPod mini device...Another challenge will be to develop more appealing jukebox software and a offer download service that consumers perceive to be just as easy to navigate as iTunes. So far, Sony has not had much success with its Connect online music store. Jon Erensen, a U.S.-based analyst at research firm Gartner who tracks the music player market added, "Lack of an iTunes online store aimed at users in Japan was a major reason behind Sony's success in its home market. That could change if Apple, as a newspaper reported, unleashes iTunes in Japan next month."

Posted by Todd in Sony | Permalink


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