Introduction. In 1979, Sony launched a portable Walkman range. For nearly a quarter of century, the Sony Walkman was the undisputed market leader and Sony was considered a top innovative company. Then, in 2001, Apple decided to launch the iPod, a new portable player. About 80% of the iPod technical components (e.g. memory, storage media) were produced by various companies within the Sony group. In 2004, iPod sales overtake Sony Walkman globally and become the new market leader in portable players. How was this possible? Theoretically, Sony held all conditions for launching the new generation of portable players, but instead, a new company – Apple – completely changed the market.
Aim of the study. This paper underline that innovation could appear in any company, not necessary the one that has all the prerequisites to provide a new innovation. Two very different firms, Sony and Apple Computer, are used as case study illustrations.
Keywords: Apple, Sony, technology, leadership, innovation