Sony Corporation: The Walkman WM-109 Executive Summary Case StudyBy Roxanne Guilhamet, Research Fellow, Design Management Institute;
Karen J. Freeze, Senior Research Fellow, Design Management Institute
Examines how a company with a reputation for innovation faces the problem of differentiating a fourth-generation mature product in a market flooded with imitations and look-alikes. The group leader for Walkmans had two months in which to devise a replacement for the current model. He proposed that instead of adding features, the product be simplified and designed for elegance and sophistication. Issues include managing the interface between design and sales and achieving product differentiation in a mature market through the use of design.
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