D&M will shutter line by Sept.'s end.

The Rio MP3 player will soon be no more. D&M Holdings, the Japanese company that manufactures the Rio line, will discontinue the line by the end of September.

In July, the company sold the technology division behind the MP3 player to Sigmatel, but retained the rights to the Rio brand. According to a company statement, D&M Holdings felt the mass-market portable digital audio player market was too competitive to justify further investment, and was no longer a "strategic fit." The company said it plans to focus instead on home networking and entertainment products, such as home theater and networked digital entertainment systems.

The Rio MP3 player was a pioneer in the digital music space. The player was the target of a recording industry lawsuit against MP3 devices that temporarily halted shipments, until appeals overturned the decision and cleared the way for the development of today's MP3 market.

With the advent of the iPod, Rio and other digital audio device manufacturers have felt the squeeze, as Apple Computer ate up their market share. Earlier this summer, Virgin Electronics suffered a similar fate when parent company Virgin Management withdrew financial support for the struggling business.

D&M Holdings said it would continue to support Rio retailers and customers for both in-stock and previously sold devices going forward.

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