As I ranted elsewhere, Sonicstage wasn't just a bad music library / syncing system. It never was a library/sync system - it was a Music Theft Prevention System.
That is, they were saying to every single person who used Sonicstage "You're a thief, and because you are we're limiting what you can do with this thing". Apple took a far more sensible approach to balancing the (moronic) demands of the music industry and giving users a reasonable amount of freedom with their purchased music.
By the time Sony smelled the coffee a little, of course it was too late but it didn't stop them sticking to the same mentality. That kind of contempt for the customer these days deserves special punishment on the market. I'm not sure whether they've had enough of it... Sony's market cap is down in the toilet comparatively speaking but that's not directly a result of it's hubris in the Walkman arena.
To be honest, I like the A8xx series and I feel they'd do pretty well as a MTP device... but I don't like them more than Cowon or Apple, which offer better specs / sound quality (Cowon) and better usability (Apple), and I really don't see why I have to give a company / division which thought like that more money than I have to (damn those excellent VAIO's... but my TV's Pioneer now, so :p).
Most previous reviews of sony mp3 players have said the following "player=great! Sonicstage software=want to delete the hard drive sector it was installed on!" But now that sony is moving away from sonicstage, could their players become cool. Or has sony left it far too late and is sonicstage set to become permamently attached to peoples idea of a sony device?