Apple's iPod seems to have captured the notoriously tough Japanese market for their digital music player. And they have beaten back entrenched local players such as Sony and Matsushita.
By the end of 2005, iPod had cornered 51.3% of the digital-music player market, up from about 32% in 2004, according to research firm BCN. Sony was a distant second with 16.2%, while Panasonic grabbed just 8.2% of the market.
The usual combination of great design, powerful hardware and software that are seamlessly integrated with the iTunes service has proved the killer combination in this market too.
But, look for the fight back from Sony this year. Their designs get better and better and they are working hard to improve their Connect service. And perhaps the biggest challenge is yet to come - from the mobile operators with the major handset manufacturers. And Japan has one of the most advanced and highly utilised 3G networks
in the world to support this move.
Look out Apple. And for the millionth time - what's your mobile strategy?
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