Sony Walkman More Popular than iPod in Japan

Dennis Faas's picture

Think Apple's iPod is the quintessential tech product for the modern age?

Arguably, the iPod is the tech world's most in-demand product -- and has been virtually uncontested in North America for the last ten years -- but not in Japan, where the Sony Walkman currently holds top spot as the highest-selling MP3 player.

The Apple iPod is a ubiquitous device. It's recognized in places where many Western products, like a laptop or PlayStation, are not. It's also very popular in the land of the rising sun, where for the last four years it has been the most powerful force in MP3 playback technology.

However, according to a recent report by Tokyo-based research firm BCN, that dominance is over -- at least, for now. BCN has found that the Sony Walkman, a device most of us North Americans associate with awkward 80s jogging or trips in the family van, leads all other MP3 products in sales.

Study Does Not Include iPhone as Music Source

According to BCN's report, Sony's market share jumped to about 43 per cent for the week ending August 30. Apple's market share, by comparison, settled in just under that mark, at 42.1 per cent. It's certainly not a big gap, but enough of one to give Sony's Walkman the edge in overall popularity. (Source:

Still, Apple's might in the Far East is hardly slipping. Because it focused only on players designed to provide exclusively music, the study failed to include the company's very popular iPhone, which is also used by many Japanese music fans for their MP3 playback needs. Let's not forget how many potential iPod users opted for an iPhone instead.

As for the United States, since 2003 the iPod has never slipped below 60 per cent of the MP3 market. Its dominance has, at times, flirted with the 90 per cent plateau. (Source:

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