Simon Bisson (sbisson) wrote,
Simon Bisson
sbisson

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At last - Sony sees the light - but is it too late?

For many years I used a Sony MiniDisc recorder when I was at meetings or conducting interviews. Unfortunately I could only use my recordings through a MiniDisc player, and despite being able to download music from my PC onto my MiniDisc, I couldn't do the reverse. It wasn't a problem with the device - Sony actually made a MiniDisc data drive for a while - the hardware had been deliberately crippled, thanks to Sony's influential content division. There would never be a Walkman-branded product with upload capabilities - or for that matter, without the strong DRM features of their ATRAC compression technology.

Now Sony has finally admitted that this was the wrong decision to have made - and as a result the Walkman has been virtually frozen out of the rapid growth MP3-player segment. But it's probably too late. Devices like the iPod have stolen brand awareness from Walkman, and other MP3 devices are offering full recording capabilities (like my new iRiver H320). It's a market Sony may never get back.

Ken Kutaragi, president of Sony Computer Entertainment has said "It's just starting. We are growing up."

But it may be too late. How about starting by opening up the UMD format for the PSP? Or allowing third parties to write code that can work with non-encrypted ATRAC?
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