The 3.5-inch floppy disk's long, slow, unceremonious march toward its death came to an end on Friday (April 23), when Sony announced it will end domestic sales of the disk by the end of the year, and end production of the disks by March 2011. Japan's Mainichi Daily newspaper reported Sony sold 12 million floppy disks in fiscal 2009, down from 47 million disks in fiscal 2009.
While extremely popular as a data storage format after it debuted (replacing the 5.25-inch floppy disk), as larger-capacity devices and discs such as USB sticks and blank CDs appeared on the market, computer makers like Dell and Apple gradually withdrew support for the format. Sony has already discontinued manufacturing the disk domestically; most current sales of floppy disks have been to developing countries and India.
In the age of non-networking computers, the floppy disk stood as the primary external writable storage device. Even to this day, the format remains an icon, its form serving as a commonly used "Save" icon in applications such as Microsoft Word.
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