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Sony to stop floppy disk production in Japan

Dwindling demand has caused end to production

Sony has revealed it will stop production and sales of floppy disks in Japan early next year due to dwindling demand.

Sony is one of a handful of companies that still sells floppy disk media in Japan, despite stopping production of the disks outside the country in March this year.

It said sales of floppy disks in Japan will end by March 2011.

The Japanese domestic floppy disk market amounted to about 12 million disks last year, of which Sony had a 70 percent share, it said.

A 10-pack of Sony 3.5in floppy disks costs 570 Japanese Yen (£3.92) at a central Tokyo electronics store.

Many of the remaining customers are legacy equipment users in the education and research sectors, said Sony.

Demand for the disks peaked in the mid-nineties when the most popular type of floppy, the 'HD' disk, offered 1.44MB of storage space, but it began to fall in the latter part of the nineties when the more durable and higher capacity CD-R and CD-RW formats reached the mass market.

In contrast to the small capacity of the floppy disk, a CD could hold 650MB so offered obvious benefits to users. In recent years USB memory sticks have become popular for transporting data between computers.

To put the floppy market in perspective, consider those 12 million disks sold in Japan last year.

Together they can hold about 17 terabytes of data, enough to fill about 700 single-sided Blu-ray discs.

See also: A history of removable storage


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