Apple iPod Outsold By Walkman In Japan For The First Time In Four Years

Sony’s (SNE) Walkman digital music player outsold Apple’s (AAPL) iPod in Japan for the first time since 2005, Bloomberg reports, citing numbers by electronics research firm BCN Inc.

The Walkman’s market share was 43% in the last week of August 2009, and the iPod’s was 42.1%.

It’s worth nothing, though, that the study did not take into account iPhone sales figures, as it is a wireless handset, in addition to being a music player. Also worth noting, the iPhone 3GS was the top selling mobile phone in Japan for July 2009.

This dilutes the fact that the Walkman outsold the iPod, as the iPhone is essentially a phone and an iPod. And it’s unlikely that Apple is worried about this. The company said in July 2009, that over time, it expects the iPhone to cannibalise its traditional MP3 players.

It’s still an achievement for Sony. The company’s affordable, high quality W series players did help gain market share, notes Bloomberg:

iPod prices in Japan range from 8,800 yen for the shuffle to 47,800 yen for the 32- gigabyte touch model, according to the Apple Store.

“Sony has gained customers seeking less expensive products and those seeking high quality by broadening its lineup,” Kazuharu Miura, an analyst with Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd., said by telephone today. “But you can’t really say Sony regained its competitiveness against Apple unless it improves its market share in the U.S. and Europe.”

Image: Michael Herfort

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