A report out of Japan says momentum is shifting towards Sony in Japan's MP3 player market. But reading a little closer shows that Sony's flash memory models are the ones selling well, while hard drive models continue to falter against iPods. Sony's share of flash-based players jumped from 4 percent in March to 27 percent in May and June, while the iPod shuffle took less than 20 percent of the market, mainly on the back of a player with a 50-hour battery life. Analysts point to the lack of an iTunes Music Store for Japan as a key differentiator for Sony, but the unmitigated failure of Sony's Connect store in the US and Europe makes that a little hard to believe. In any case, Apple's expected to open iTunes Japan next month, and Apple's results, released yesterday, still show strong iPod sales growth.
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