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Sony A-Series Walkman
"That's all I can stands and I can't stands no more"

Sony is tired of having its butt kicked by Apple in the portable audio market. The iPod has consistently thwarted any attempt by Sony to grab a foothold on the market even after several valiant attempts. Sales figures show that Apple sold almost twice as many music players in the first three months of 2006 than Sony did in all of the previous fiscal year. According to a top Sony executive, the company is ready to take another jab at the venerable iPod. Whether those punches deliver any serious damage remain to be seen.

Sony is hoping to launch the new series of players in time for the Holiday '06 buying season; right about the time when the company's highly anticipated PlayStation 3 is due to hit shelves around the world. The new music players also promise to focus heavily on design and battery life. From Digital Tokyo World:

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 market share. Sony has tried to unseat Apple in that market before with little success, and its recently launched A-series Walkman digital music players are on sale only in Japan and Europe.

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If Apple were to license FairPlay ...
By JAS on 5/1/2006 2:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
How about some form of partnership between Apple Computer and Sony? Apple would license FairPlay in exchange for a consideration, monetary or otherwise, and allow Sony's portable music players to work with the iTunes Music Store. Anyone see a scenario in which both companies would benefit through such an arrangement?

RE: If Apple were to license FairPlay ...
By UNCjigga on 5/1/2006 3:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
Apple will NEVER open up iTunes for use on other players...not unless a court orders them to do so. Think about the switching costs that exist for iPod users right now. The reason why nobody's eating at Apple's share of the digital music market is because all these people buying music off iTunes are now stuck on iPods for life--who the hell wants to pay for music to use on another player if they already bought it on iTunes?? That's an INCREDIBLE competitive advantage (almost unfair, which is why French courts forced them to open up earlier this year.)

Sure Apple's iPod interface was great, but their real brilliance was putting iTunes on Windows PCs back when no one else offered a compelling, easy-to-use solution for downloading and organizing music on PCs. Microsoft, MusicMatch, Real, Sony and all the others really missed the boat--before iTunes all the software was buggy, fully of nagware/adware or just a pain to use.

By Eug Wanker on 5/1/2006 3:51:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ironically, some 3rd party players work with iTunes on the Mac. Furthermore, some 3rd party players (including Sony phones) work with iTunes AAC. What they don't work with is FairPlay AAC.

Anyways, I agree... One of the biggest problems with Sony right now is that their software absotively sucks. iPods have a great interface, but iTunes just rocks. Now, not everyone likes it, but it's liked by a large enough portion of the population that it becomes a serious selling point in favour of the iPod.

Sony's software OTOH is universally reviled.

RE: If Apple were to license FairPlay ...
By JAS on 5/1/2006 7:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
...all these people buying music off iTunes are now stuck on iPods for life.
Not entirely true. Any music in your iTunes library, whether purchased through the iTunes Music Store or imported from your own CDs, can be written -- with no FairPlay or other DRM -- onto a compact disc. From there, you may transfer the content to another system.

By goku on 5/3/2006 10:17:15 AM , Rating: 2
well for a person who pays for a low quality DRM file, I can see your logic in doing this.. Just great, first you start out with a half assed quality music file and then you have to waste a CD (most people use CDRs) then RERIP the file (losing quality) then encode it (lose even more quality) until you're left with an even worse sounding file than from before. Talk about tedious, what if you had a 10,000 song library?

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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