Sony has announced that it will halt sales of all 3.5 inch floppies in Japan by March 2011. Japan is one of the few countries where the storage medium is still available from Sony.
The move will come nearly 30 years after Sony produced its first line of 3.5in floppy disks. Most global shipments had already been halted, but the company had continued to offer the disks in Japan where the format had a larger user base.
Sony's decision delivers what many consider to be the death knell for the floppy disk family after nearly four decades. Beginning with IBM's first range of eight inch drives in 1971, the flexible storage format developed alongside the personal computing market in the final quarter of the 20th century.
The 3.5in floppy dates back to the dawn of the 1980s, but did not take a firm hold in the market until the latter half of the decade. Throughout the 1990s the 3.5in floppy was the format of choice for personal storage as business and academic users began transporting document files between systems.
As optical storage devices increased in popularity and systems were increasingly connected through the web, the floppy began to fade. Beginning with the first Apple iMac models, system vendors began to phase out floppy disks in favour of rewritable CD drives and, eventually, USB thumb drives.
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