While Apple's iPod dominates the North American and European markets, recent reports show that Sony has made cuts into Apple's music player dominance in Japan. The gains come partially in thanks to a new line of products as well as the absence of iTunes in that nation. While Apple still holds the top spot when it comes to hard-disk based devices such as the standard iPod and iPod Mini, Sony has pushed Apple's iPod Shuffle out of first place in the flash memory player market.
After significant product launches in March and April, which included 256MB, 512MB, and 1GB players as well as two hard-disk players, Sony's major gains came from the aforementioned compact models which offered superior battery life over the iPod Shuffle. While Sony's players are more expensive, consumers appear willing to pay extra for the reported 50 hour battery life from a single charge, as well as an LCD screen displaying track information.
According to market research firm BCN, Sony's flash based player market share resided at 16 percent before the product launch and proceeded to shoot up to 27 percent by May. Apple's share fell under 20 percent during that timeframe.
News source: Reuters UK