Senso della misura

Come Sony fa i conti, dal Wall Street Journal:

Apple Challenges Sony’s Claims Over New Digital Music Player



July 8, 2004

Apple Computer Inc., aiming to protect the lead of its iPod digital music player, said Sony Corp. is exaggerating the attributes of its new Network Walkman music player.

The verbal sparring comes a week after Sony unveiled its Network Walkman, a hard-drive-based music player that is designed to be an iPod killer. At the time, Sony made much of the physically smaller size of the new 20-gigabyte Walkman in comparison to Apple’s iPod. Sony also said the Network Walkman holds 13,000 songs, compared with 5,000 songs for the 20-gigabyte iPod and 10,000 songs for the 40-gigabyte iPod.

Yesterday, Apple struck back and said Sony isn’t fairly comparing the products’ capacity. Apple said Sony based its calculations for the capacity of its Network Walkman on compressing files at low encoding “bit rates,” a technique that creates more-compact digital files but reduces the fidelity of recordings. Apple typically estimates the capacity of the iPod based on a bit rate of 128 kilobits per second. By contrast, Apple noted, Sony’s 13,000-song estimate for the Network Walkman was based on a rate of 48 kilobits. Apple posited that Sony’s device actually would hold only 4,800 songs with the sound quality found on the 20-gigabyte iPod.

“We’re disappointed that Sony, which is new to this market, has decided to make their first impression by attempting to mislead the press and customers,” Apple said.

That Apple, which is normally tight-lipped about its products, will engage in verbal sparring with Sony shows how far the Cupertino, Calif., company will go to protect the market-share lead of its iPod digital music player. IPods now form about 15% of the company’s overall revenues. According to Yankee Group, a research firm based in Boston, the iPod brand has a 50% to 60% share of the U.S. market for hard-drive-based audio players.

Sony reacted angrily to Apple’s statement. Todd Schrader, Sony Electronics’ vice president of portable audio products, said the “Walkman has always been about choice.” He said consumers can play songs on the Walkman in a variety of bit rates and that it is up to customers to decide the rate.

A Sony spokeswoman said that at its maximum, the Network Walkman can hold 13,000 songs that have been compressed at a 48-kilobit rate. The device can store 5,000 songs that have been compressed into digital files at 132-kilobit rate, similar to Apple’s 128-kilobit rate. The Walkman can hold 2,500 songs that have been compressed at a top-quality 256-kilobit rate”

Wall Street Journal

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