Happy Birthday, Sony Walkman

Break out that mixtape. You know, the one with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Thriller.” It’s the Sony Walkman’s 30th birthday.

And it got a present. Kind of. The modern Sony (SNE) Walkman digital music player beat out Apple’s (AAPL) iPod share of the portable music player market in Japan in the last week of August, according to a study by BCN, a Japanese electronics research firm. The Walkman took 43 percent of sales, compared with the iPod’s 42.1 percent, capping 241 weeks where the iPod reigned in Japan.

The study didn’t take into account sales of the iPhone, which researchers viewed primarily as a cellphone. But nostalgic Walkman aficionados might recognize the frenzy over the role of the iPod in popular culture.

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