The Sony Walkman outsold Apple's iPod in Japan last week, the first time in more than four years, according to a study by Japanese electronics research company BCN.
Sony's slice of the market for digital music players in Japan rose to 43 percent for the week ending August 30, narrowly beating Apple's 42.1 share. The survey didn't include sales results for the iPhone because that device also serves as a cell phone.
Sony achieved its victory through pure sales volume and number of players, said BCN. Apple's 8GB iPod Nano hit the top of the sales charts with a 21.7 percent share of the market, while Sony's mini NW-E042 Walkman came in second with just a 6.2 market share.
But Sony captured six of the top 10 sales spots with different models of its Walkman. In addition to its top 8GB Nano, Apple took the remaining three slots with its 16GB iPod Nano, iPod Classic, and iPod Shuffle.
Sony's win be may due to a variety of factors, according to BCN. The company focuses on lower-cost music players, with the average price of a Walkman dropping in recent weeks while Apple's prices have stayed firm. BCN also said it thinks Apple may be competing with itself, as more Japanese consumers have opted for iPhones rather than buying both an iPod and cell phone.
BCN said it believes the battle for market share will heat up again following Apple's September 9 event, in which the company is expected to announce new iPod models.
Sony's varied line of Walkman players have picked up generally favorable reviews.