The latest sign that optical disc drives (ODDs) are increasingly viewed as obsolete technology is the fact that Sony has decided to pull out of the market completely. Intense competition and rock bottom prices led to Sony's decision to withdraw from the market, and given the rise of cloud-based services and digital distribution platforms, we wouldn't be surprised if other players stopped making ODDs, too.
That's not to say it's a dead technology as of today, but it's certainly telling that a number of new PCs in the thin and light (Ultrabook, sleekbook, and so forth) segment don't even bother to come equipped with CD/DVD drives anymore.
According to a report in The Japan Times, Sony Optiarc will stop producing ODDs for PCs in November. The company's ODD operations will come to a complete halt in March of next year, at which time Sony will liquidate its ODD unit. Sony said it will offer early retirement to around 400 of the unit's employees, while others will be transferred to different positions.