(Source: Sony)

  (Source: Sony)
The world's industry leader is dethroned in Japan... for now.

The Sony Walkman, a popular portable music device in the '80s that dropped into obscurity in the '90s , is back on top again -- in Japan. 
A survey by the Tokyo-based marketing research company BCN Inc. indicates that Sony -- which had consistently placed second to iPod -- placed first for the month of August.  

Sony’s share of the market for digital music players beat out Apple with a 47.8 percent market share last month, while the iPod captured 44 percent according to
 AFP and BCN.

"This is the first time that the Walkman outsold the iPod in monthly sales," said BCN analyst Eiji Mori.

BCN has been tracking monthly MP3 player sales in the country since 2001.  Sony was able to walk away with the lead for one week in September of 2001, but fell short for the month.  

Sony gained momentum
 in May with the release of its new Walkman S line. Mori speculated that consumers were holding off on buying an iPod ahead of the release of its newest generation.

"Sony's strategy to market relatively affordable products may have also contributed to the turnaround in the ranking in market shares," Mori added.

The iPod is expected to recapture the market again soon.  The highly anticipated, latest version of the device was revealed this week, but Sony could remain a contender for the top spot.  

The company also had a revelation this week.  Sony announced its plans to introduce new digital music service Music Unlimited.  The service will stream music over the internet to Sony TVs, PS3s, Blu-ray players and other devices.

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