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Pt 2099
12 vintage walkmans @ oobject…

Apple may be the king of portable media in this millennium, but years ago, electronics giant Sony was dominating the market with its portable Walkman cassette player. The Walkman came in all forms, playing AM/FM radio, cassette tapes, CDs, MiniDiscs, video and eventually, MP3s. These are some of our favorite models, encompassing a broad period of time where the Walkman was on the top.

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And the best new “Walkman” of all time? The “DIY Waterproof iPod Walkman Case” — based on the RetroPod. In 2004 a maker creator an iPod case called the “Retropod” – the makers did a great job, learned about foam/cushioning and made a great case from old (and soon to be thrown out) Sony Walkmans. Surely Sony would be thrilled people are recycling, reusing and celebrating the days of sporting a Walkman, no – they sent a cease and desist and the Retropod was never sold

“Sony recently learned that you are selling a case for carrying an iPod personal stereo that is made from a WALKMAN tape player. The product is being offered at your website at http://www.retropod.com.

Your use of casings for such a purpose is a clear infringement of the SONY and WALKMAN marks because it is deceptive. Consumers likely will be misled and deceived into believing that Sony is somehow connected with the iPod personal stereo when in fact it is not. Moreover, they will be misled into thinking that Sony is backward in its design of products and is going away from miniaturization, as the size of the tape player housing is quite large by today’s standards.

Accordingly, we demand on behalf of Sony that you immediately cease and desist from selling, or offering to sell or distributing your Retropod product…”

I haven’t kept up with Sony’s latest offerings, but I just poked around and saw that Sony announced the Sony 32GB Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo HX. Post up in the comments f you have a recent Walkman!

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. anonymous says:

    I haven’t bought any Sony products since the PS2 many, many years ago. Sony seems determined to lock you in to their products by using proprietary formats, connectors, batteries and memory cards (not to mention the root-kit fiasco with audio CDs a few years ago). I don’t even bother to look at their products any more.

    Ironically, the “Retropod” combines the iconic media player of a company diminished now by its’ attempts to lock customers in with the iconic media player of a company currently in its’ prime that could soon be diminished by its’ attempts to lock their customers in.

  2. JJ says:

    Sony needs to get a grip. Apparently they think consumers are idiots.

  3. njmalhq.wordpress.com says:

    Any surprise over things like this to me seem to come from a fundamental misunderstanding of what a modern corporation — in general — is. Far too many of us tend to think of them as centers of production. The bad ones simply as poorly run or of inefficient variety, but production machines nevertheless.

    This illusion is believable, to whatever degree, only on the outside. From the inside, whether one works in production or not, it becomes clear very quickly that production isn’t the primary concern of the corporate mandate. Selling is. It’s not “if you build it, they will come,” it is “if you sell, they will buy, whatever it might be.” That is why marketing departments consume enormous budgets, commanding the largest salaries. That is why more thought and effort goes into packaging than what is inside. That is why dysfunctional and poorly built goods constantly make top shelves. Making things is so incidental, it is one of the first functions to get outsourced. “Who cares who makes it, and how it is made?” one can imagine the corporate councilmen thinking.

    That is why we see stupid and counter intuitive business policies in place. They seem counter intuitive to us, because we erroneously expect the corporation to be a value creator for the consumer.

    Wherein lies the blame? Some in the cynical culture that has taken over business schools, that dumps out MBA wielding managers who think along these lines. Some in the greed of the average investor, the share holder, who hires these managers. Mostly in the stupidity of the average consumer, who provides the purchasing power, the
    “fuel,” for inefficient and even harmful production. In as long as enough of us are more than willing to buy crap, we’ll keep getting crap sold to us.

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