Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Unplugging the Walkman

After 31 years, 220 million sales and countless chewed-up tapes, Sony have decided to take the batteries out of the Walkman. This week, Sony announced plans to halt the manufacture and distribution of the Walkman cassette-player. Once remaining stocks are …

Fri, Oct 29, 2010, 09:59

   

After 31 years, 220 million sales and countless chewed-up tapes, Sony have decided to take the batteries out of the Walkman.

This week, Sony announced plans to halt the manufacture and distribution of the Walkman cassette-player. Once remaining stocks are gone, that will be the end of the once popular portable tape-player.

Radio shows and newspapers marked the news with an outbreak of nostalgia usually to be found on Twitter during an episode of Reeling In the Years. Some of us who still use a Walkman – I use one to record all my interviews – made a mental note to stock up on tapes.

Of course, the death knell for the Walkman was sounded some time ago. The move to the CD format lead Sony to develop the Discman, but it was the arrival of the iPod which really put the skids on the Walkman.

Yes, there were other MP3 players before Steve Jobs launched the iPod in October 2001, but the Apple device is the one which has truly matched the Walkman in the iconic stakes. It has already outstripped the tape-player in the sales stakes: Apple had sold 220 million iPods by September 2008.

Indeed, there’s now speculation that Apple may buy their competitor. Earlier this week, Sony shares rose three per cent on the back of rumours that Apple might take over the Japanese electronics giant.

Apple currently have $51 billion in cash on hand and, as they’re not returning Brian Linehan’s phone-calls about that surplus, are reported to be sizing up Adobe, Disney, Spotify or Sony for purchase, depending on which insider you choose to believe. Now, that would be a corporate takeover to behold.