The venerable 3.5-inch floppy disk is now officially dead.
Sony Corp., the floppy’s sole remaining manufacturer, announced on 26 April that it was ceasing production after a valiant 29-year tour of duty. “Lack of demand” was the reason, though 12 million were apparently sold in Japan last year. The floppy defined an era of computing— Windows 95 was shipped on 13 of them, the dreaded Michelangelo virus was spread through them, and their famous fragility introduced many irate computer users to the lethal trifecta of “Abort/Retry/Fail”.
Yet, in some ways, the floppy’s continued existence was characteristic of Sony’s stubbornness towards proprietary technologies.
CDs and USB drives killed the floppy years ago, and it joined the ranks of major Sony- championed formats to lead a marginal existence, a list that includes Betamax (lost to VHS), Trinitron TVs, memory sticks (lost to SD cards), ATRAC audio (steamrolled by the MP3), Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (lost to Dolby) and UMD discs.