Sony the inventors of the Walkman has finally given up on being a mainstream MP3 player up against the Apple iPod.
Instead Sony Australia is moving to play in the bottom end of the market with a range of 1 and 2 GB Flash players up against the likes of SanDisk, Samsung and a host of made in Asia MP3 players. Moving into this market will see them also come into competition with mobile phone manufacturers who are now incorporating MP3 capabilities into phones.
Sony Australia PR Manager Nina Hearne when asked why Sony had not formally announced the move said “It’s not something we really want to talk about. We did not think it was worth a press release”.
What Sony is now concentrating on is a single range of E Series players priced between $159 and $199. The problem for Sony in this market is that both Samsung and SanDisk are global manufacturers of flash memory and with memory accounting for up to 70% of costs Sony are set to face a tough time in this market.
Sony Australia marketing manager – audio products group, David Allen recently claimed that word of mouth marketing will help Sony re establish itself in this market. But as one retailer said ” This segment of the market buys on price and both Samsung and SanDisk have a massive advantage over Sony”. Sony Australia have struggled up against Apple in the MP3 and portable audio markets and are now facing an uphill battle to establish the E Series range. The comment by David Allen that “No one likes monopolies, and the reality is that right now there is very close to a monopoly and I think there is resistance from some retailers and to some degree from end users because they are not so comfortable with one brand being so strong” Maybe he has forgotten that Sony use to have a monopoly with the Sony Walkman and maybe he has not seen the add on growth that retailers are achieving by selling iPod accessories along with an iPod”
Talking to SHN Allen said “We have got to change and the direction we are now going will see us selling players and accessories into specific market where the Sony brand is strong/
Recent reports claim that the portable audio iPod player market is driving sales of attached Hi Fi with some research predicting growth of 35% in this market.