Sony seems set on fighting back to seize a slice of the lucrative digital music market.

Executives yesterday made bullish sounds, as the company prepares for the attack: "We are confident of being able to offer a product that is much more competitive than the iPod by the end of the year," said Sony president Kunitake Ando.

The company needs to focus on making its planned products easy and intuitive to use, he agreed, dismissing the notion that Sony may acquire Apple. "Apple has become too expensive", he said.