I looked after the retail launch of MiniDisc (MD) in the UK. I still have, and occasionally use, MiniDisc equipment. Sony announcing that they are to discontinue MD is really no great surprise but it did bring back some great memories; our retail launch took us around nightclubs the length and breadth of the country!
Sony has announced it is to deliver its last MiniDisc stereo next month. It marks an end to the firm’s support for the system which it launched in 1992. The format only ever had limited success outside of Japan and was ultimately doomed by the rise of recordable CDs and MP3 players.
This should be interesting to follow: PayPal, the online payments company owned by eBay Inc, just got a new rival in the race to develop a mobile payment service that can be used in physical stores.
Boku Inc, a big online mobile payments company backed by venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz and Benchmark Capital, unveiled a new service on Thursday that lets people pay with any mobile phone anywhere credit cards are accepted.
Boku already provides carrier billing through about 230 wireless carriers, including AT&T Inc, Vodafone Group Plc and Verizon Communications Inc in more than 60 countries. This service lets people pay with their mobile number and get the transactions charged to their monthly phone bill.
Launched in 1979, the Walkman has become synonymous with portable, personal music. Sony has now ceased production of the Walkman for their domestic Japanese market after 31 years and over 200 million sales worldwide.
This innovative product created an audio sector that was over 3 million units of personal stereos per annum in the UK alone, with Sony taking over 30% market share.
It’s funny when you spot a brand. We all tend to make assumptions based on our experiences.
When I saw Yamaha West London I immediately thought it was a keyboard or guitar shop. I then wondered why there was an MOT sign on the front of the building. It turned out it was a motorbike retailer.
Full marks to Yamaha for the consistent presentation of their brand.
How many consumer brands have product ranges as diverse as guitars and motorbikes? Loads when you start thinking about it: Hitachi (nuclear power stations to clock radios); GE; Sony. I think the difference with Yamaha is that they hold such strong brand positions with consumers in vastly different sectors.
I’m rather excited by the pending arrival of the Google Phone, G1. But it will be a quandary for me.
Out of principal I would not buy an iPhone as I find their distribution approach offensive. I don’t want to move to O2 and I don’t want a new phone number. These are both things that were demanded at the UK launch of the iPhone.
This resulted in me finally abandoning Sony handsets (having worked for them in the 80s and 90s there was a bit of a loyalty) to get the functionality I wanted. I migrated to Blackberry Pearl 8100.
But the Google Phone is looking very exciting. That said, there are mixed views about the launch. Do I depart from Blackberry in favour of Google?