Sony to Disconnect Connect

Dennis Faas's picture

Move over Sony, Apple's iTunes has won the online music battle. As a result, Sony will surrender and close its Connect Music Store as early as March 2008.

Although Connect's official ending is certainly big news, the vultures have been circling for months. Back in June, suspicions arose when Sony Connect Inc. announced that it was eliminating positions. The reason the company gave for this layoff surrounded shifting its resources to other online services such as its PlayStation video game system. Officially, Sony denied any connection between these changes and a possible closing.

For those experiencing Connect withdrawals, Sony wants to help. The Japanese company will gradually phase out Connect operations stating, "This gives customers greater flexibility in their music software approach. As a result, Sony will be phasing out the Connect Music Services based on Sony's ATRAC audio format in North America and Europe." (Source:

What happened?

Connect was unsuccessful because most consumers never warmed up to its ATRAC technology. Therefore, its new line of Walkman digital music players will feature Windows Media Audio DRM instead. Also, new Sony music players will users to download songs from third-party music sites including HMV and Napster.

The downside: The improved gadgets will not work with Apple's iTunes store. Since iTunes commands at least 80 per cent of the market, it looks like Sony may be fighting yet another losing battle. (Source:

In North America and Europe, March is scheduled as shutdown month.  However, specific timing for each region is not yet known. Customers who purchased ATRAC-encoded files will only be able to access them with older Sony devices. In addition, the company suggests that audio files be saved on audio CDs in case future Walkman models do not support their format. Those using Connect's e-book service are warned not to worry, the program will remain active.

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