Apple can breathe a sigh of relief as word came on Thursday that Sony plans to close its music store, Connect, sometime after March 2008.
Apple's iTunes, was never actually threatened by Sony's misguided download service, of course. The company's attempt to compete in the digital music market was from the start marked by glitchy software and disinterested consumers.
Sony claims the reason it scrapped Connect is that the company has "widened its digital music environment" to support Windows Media. But the story of how Connect was doomed from the start is well chronicled.
The project was self-sabotaged by politicking and infighting on the Connect development team.
When Sony launched Connect, the software was so buggy that the company resorted to telling frustrated customers to go back to using pre-Connect software, SonicStage. Sony's U.S. operations went so far as to refuse releasing Connect.
After a failed attempt to patch all the software problems, Sony, which once ruled mobile music with its ubiquitous Walkman, gave up developing Connect's software after April 2006. Connect at that point was essentially dead.
For Connect customers, Sony told them to archive their current music libraries by moving them to disc. Other questions about the closure are answered here.