iPod Leaves Sony Struggling to Rebuild Brand in Japan

Sonyis biggest priority in Japan is rebuilding its brand, thanks to the smash success of iPod in that country, according to an article published by Marketwatch. The company has begun a marketing campaign to achieve this, and company executives see 2005 as the turning point around which the market will continue to evolve.

"Unfortunately, the image and the value of Sony among young people has changed in recent years. We have to acknowledge that. So, we thought about what needs to be done to bring them back to Sony," Kiyoshi Shikano, corporate vice-president of Sony marketing, told Marketwatch.

At issue is Sonyis late entry to the digital media device market, the successor to the portable stereo, portable tape player, and portable CD player markets that Sony dominated for years with its Walkman brand. Sony released a digital Walkman in July of 2004, more than three years after Apple introduced the iPod in 2001. So far, however, the Walkman NW (for network) line of products has failed to catch on with consumers, prompting what Mr. Shikano called a "sense of crisis" within Sony.

Ken Kitabayashi, a consultant on the information and communication industry at the Nomura Research Institute in Japan, told Marketwatch that Apple is likely to maintain its lead in the digital media device market, and that the launch of the iTunes Music Store in Japan, expected sometime in 2005, will help to insure this.

There is substantially more detail in the full article at Marketwatch, which we recommend for those interested in the battle for digital music player supremacy.