Apple has claimed another scalp in the music download market; this time a firm called Oricon has revealed plans to leave the Japanese download market.

The company, which publishes Japanese music charts, plans instead now to link songs mentioned on its website to other online music stores, rather than running one of its own.

"The iPod has outrun us all," Oricon spokesman Teruaki Hidaka told Reuters, ruefully complaining of format incompatibility. "If iPod users could download music from our site, we may have waited to see if the tide turns from mobile phones to online downloads."

The company had been losing money on its music download service since launching in May 2005. It has faced Apple's strength in the a la carte download market, alongside Japan's preference for mobile phone music downloads.