The danger for Sony is that it is already too late. Amazon has grabbed the market-leading position from Sony and established a stronger brand, which is what happened with the iPod and the Walkman. Sony never managed to recover, despite trying repeatedly to match Apple. The Reader is arguably less important to Sony than any of its core entertainment businesses. Even if the Reader stages a comeback, it will not become one of Sony’s “trillion-yen” businesses like its PlayStation and Bravia franchises. But books should not be written off. Annual US sales of fiction and popular non-fiction books match those of recorded music, so there is enough revenue to be worth fighting for. Sony obviously thought it was worth staking a claim to e-books when it launched the Reader.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Too Late for The Sony Reader
John Gapper in the FT believes Sony has irretrievably lost the beach-head that the first to market Sony Reader established. Is it now too late to gain back some share? Since he compares Sony's Walkman with the iPod the likely answer is yes.