Creative Labs Backs Down After PR Mess

from the not-happily-though dept

Following the brouhaha that erupted earlier this week after Creative Labs took down forum posts from a driver modder, the company has given in and restored the posts, recognizing that it needed to do so for PR reasons. However, the statement that it released to The Register (at the link) basically says that everyone misunderstood Creative's position. Creative claims it was only worried about other company's IP being infringed, which could potentially put everyone in legal hot water. That could be true, but it still handled the whole thing rather awkwardly.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    harold, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 6:09am

    driver

    Whats a driver modder?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Bobbknight, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 6:14am

    Meh

    I still think I will not buy any products from Creative.
    When the top of the line audio product still does not properly function with Vista after 1 full year of it's release, and a kid down in Brazil makes it work buy cobbling together bits and pieces from their own drivers. How can you support them, especially after they go after him for making thier products work better.

    Yes he asked for money, but an $80 card here costs him $250, he was asking for the money to buy newer stuff to make the drivers he was working on better.

    I just picked up a Razor Barracuda from woot.com for $55 shipped.

    When I want something better, I will be looking at Asus.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Peet McKimmie (profile), Apr 4th, 2008 @ 6:16am

    Re: driver

    The wife of a driver fadder?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 6:18am

    Someone who mods drivers. Sorry, someone had to say it.

    A driver is the software that sits between the operating system and the hardware (the video chip). Modern video chips are usually pretty sophisticated, sometimes actually being like little CPU's dedicated to making pretty pictures on the screen. The software that runs these little beauties can be pretty sophisticated, but there is always a lot of room for improvement.

    I don't buy Creative's explanation. If they really were concerned that the mod infringed on IP of another company they would not have restored it at all. I think it is another case of lawyers trying to run the business. At least it is encouraging to see that the lawyers at Creative can be brushed aside when someone with a bit of business sense realizes that when someone helps them improve their product they should not try to gag the person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Andre Padez, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 6:27am

    R: to Harold

    A driver modder is someone who reverse-engineers the commercial driver and programs it to better suit his needs (in this case, everyone's needs).

    You should have read the original article, but i'll try to put it in a nutshell.

    Creative Soundcards, like Audigy and above, were advertised as "Vista Ready", but performed really badly in Windows Vista, and Creative didn't do anything about it, suggesting their plans to comercialize new equipment and making recent customers spend more money on those.

    This guy cracked into the original drivers and made them so that the same soundcards worked as good as they did on XP, released them (for free) to the general public unveiling Creative's plan to make people believe they would have to buy new soundcards.

    The only mistake he did was to ask for donations (not mandatory) from people who found his work useful.

    When the executives from Creative found out, they deleted all the posts in their online forum related to those drivers, and demanded over threat of legal action that he stopped doing whatever he was doing.

    This created a wave of discomtempt in every Creative Labs customer that new the story, and most of them affirmed they would never buy their products ever again, even some whole-sale companies took the same attitude.

    I hope this covers it, but you can certainly find more on the subject in every corner of the web.

    Hurrah for the modder (i don't remember his alias, but it was Dave-something).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    slimcat (profile), Apr 4th, 2008 @ 6:45am

    Re: Meh

    "When the top of the line audio product still does not properly function with Vista"

    And they admit that they have deliberately crippled their products.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Nathan, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 6:50am

    For those who don't know the back story here is techdirts original coverage.

    Ars Technica also has a article on this story.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    ExCreativeCustomer, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 6:52am

    Sorry...Too Late for Fake Apologies

    I've already purchased my Razer Barracuda AC-1... It shipped yesterday and is due to arrive this afternoon.

    Creative's late and lawyer laden fake apology is not enough to dupe me again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Biggest thing they didn't like...

    Creative was most upset by the fact that he made some of their driver and companion software work with all brands of cards instead of just Creative products.

    While doable, that's pretty much stepping over the line. You really can't ask them to look the other way when you are using their work to benefit their competitors on some key features that differ between the cards. But Daniel_K would have never looked at the driver to begin with if they had not crippled it.

    The reason Creative crippled the cards is that they would have to relicense all the 3rd party stuff to work with Vista (they signed an XP-only contract). This was a bad move that blew up in their face.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Cpt. Obvious, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 7:52am

    Re: driver

    One who 'mods' drivers...
    Seriously though, it's someone who makes custom device drives by reverse engineering and frankensteining (taking parts from various places) drivers to make a better driver.

    In this case, the modder was unlocking functionality in the devices that the creator (Creative Labs) had intentionally locked to bilk money on behalf of a third party (who'd paid dearly for that functionality).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Steve R. (profile), Apr 4th, 2008 @ 8:39am

    Creative has evolved into a

    The Register article had this quote from Creative. "The huge task of developing driver updates to accommodate the many changes in the Vista operating system and the extensive testing required, including the lengthy Vista certification requirements for audio, makes it very difficult for Creative to develop updates for all past products."

    Whenever a company makes this type of statement it means that they are no longer entrepreneural and customer focused. They have evidently evolved into a company that is more concerned about protecting their turf as the means to generate income rather than innovate. I guess Creative's management now consists of lawyers, accounts, and marketing professionals rather than product innovators.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Alimas, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    They didn't restore it all. They restored some of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    ehrichweiss, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Meh

    That's not as uncommon as you might think except it's not what you think it is.

    When you manufacture boards, chips, etc. there will be some that won't meet your spec. If you have planned well, those that don't will still work in other ways and you sell them with the features "crippled". An example. A CPU manufacturer's production line of dual core CPUs will inevitably end up with one of the cores unable to perform up to spec, so they disable that core and they sell it as a single core CPU. You can sometimes re-enable that second core but if you do then you're obviously risking any problems that might arise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 8:49am

    From the mod creator I think this is the important part. And people remember that in such a large company a lot of the departments such as market development and legal all run semi-autonomous so maybe legal jumped the gun.

    What I did wrong

    I've asked for donations.

    Do I really need the money? No, thank God I don't.

    I thought it would be ok to ask for donations so I could buy new hardware to support.

    I did buy some hardware: an used Live! 5.1 for ~$15 and a new Audigy SE for $60.

    Computer hardware is really expensive here in Brazil.

    An X-Fi Xtreme Gamer costs about $240 here, with taxes and shipping, The same card can be bought for ~$80 in the US.

    I just can't spend my money buying new hardware that I won't even use.

    Even the features I've enabled, I don't use.

    Later I tried to encourage donations to release the DDL feature for X-Fi and Crystalizer for Audigy.

    I said something like "the more people donate, the faster I'll release".

    This was even worse, but I was so eager to modding that I didn't think straight. I was hoping to get a X-Fi asap.

    While I did ask for donations, once released, the downloads would be public.

    I do recognize that I deserve some criticism for that.

    To date, I've got $146, with amounts ranging from $1 to $50 (this value is still uncleared).

    Reversing ALchemy was also wrong, I know. But I reiterate, what is the point of improving ALchemy and changing for it, when it requires an improved driver? It was my protest against Creative.


    What Creative did wrong

    - They publicly threatened me, just to show their arrogance.
    If they had contacted me by e-mail or private message I would do the same thing (remove everything) and no one would know about their insatisfaction.

    - Removed everything I posted in the forums, even if unrelated to the "forbidden" stuff.
    If they can't provide better drivers, let people make their own choice.

    - They did not recognize my hard work.
    I've been supporting about every Creative PCI soundcard, would even support USB devices if I had one of them.

    To date, the Audigy Vista Support Pack was downloaded about 20,000 times.


    The current situation

    DDL encoder and Crystalizer were not publicly released.

    I've deleted the P17 to Xtreme Audio mod and ALchemy from FileFront (where I store the files).

    I've been told they will allow me to continue with my mods, except the "forbidden" ones.
    I'm also allowed to receive donations.

    Download of my mods
    http://hosted.filefront.com/braziliantech/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Mitur Binesderty, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Meh

    No, it's not that way at all with the Creative drivers. They purposefully crippled their drivers and then wanted you to BUY a fix!

    Basically they realized most people that had their cards where pretty happy with them and were going to be buying a new one anytime soon. Unlike the video card market where new processing power prompts new purchases, the sound card market has been pretty much stagnant. They realized they needed a way to generate new income from a stagnant user base.

    So what did they do? They devised a way of bilking their customers out of money they shouldn't have to pay. Creative PURPOSEFULLY crippled their drivers for Vista and forced you to buy something that "fixed" the problem they themselves had created.

    This evil plan has now backfired on them horribly. Most people will refuse to support a company that does such vile things and they will go out of business quickly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Nick (profile), Apr 4th, 2008 @ 11:01am

    It is funny how Creative first said that customers need to respect Creative's IP. Now they backtrack saying they are afraid that the mods might infringe on others' IP. As a consumer, I don't care who's IP I infringe on if I make a purchase of something that is supposed to work as the manufacturer advertises it should/could. Respect for IP someone's comes secondary, if at all, to my satisfaction. Sorry, Creative. That is the cold hard truth. Deal with it. Respect for IP is certainly a dead idea.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Creative has evolved into a

    That's right, it can't possibly mean that Microsoft wants them to jump through non-cost effective hoops to adapt thier product to Visa and still get through the WHQL.

    It might cost so much time and money to do so that the company would have to raise prices on their products, which would still piss people off.

    So now they're worried that MC's going to be pissed that they haven't paid to lisensce thier hardware for use with Vista but that they let people offer drivers on thier web space for use with Vista.

    I'd be worried if Microsoft was going to sue me, wouldn't you? Especially if I knew that my company had to work with them in the future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 12:31pm

    Some people just love to hate.

    Creative has always offered a decent product at a consistently decent price. They would like to continue to do so, which is why they tried to create drivers for Vista. But Microsoft wants them to jump through non-cost effective hoops to adapt thier product to Visa and still get through the WHQL.

    It might cost so much time and money to do so that the company would have to raise prices on their products, which would still piss people off.

    So now they're worried that Microsoft's going to be pissed that they haven't paid to lisensce thier hardware for use with Vista but that they let people offer drivers on thier web space for use with Vista.

    I'd be worried if Microsoft was going to sue me, wouldn't you? Especially if I knew that my company had to work with them in the future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Some people just love to hate.

    You Sir are a useless Shill.

    Funny how no-one else has problems getting drivers past Microsoft's WHQL cert process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    zergy, Apr 5th, 2008 @ 2:07am

    my sound card works again

    a week ago I got vista.
    I was surprised it didn't find my sound card cause I thought "live" was generic.
    So I was even more surprised when I got distorted sound when installing drivers.
    Thought I'd actually have to enable the on board sound instead.

    Thanks to this thread and story. My sound card works.
    Its kinda sneaky not to support something. I would not have bought creative, just for the reason they didn't support it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    2late, Apr 5th, 2008 @ 5:35am

    Sorry Creative, but you can't but the bullet back in the gun after it's been fired. Good riddance. There's other stuff out there that works much better on linux anyhow.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    2late 2nd, Apr 5th, 2008 @ 5:37am

    oh you thought linux was a typo? hell no. vista sucks ass so badly that i've left the operating system altogether.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 6th, 2008 @ 9:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meh

    This evil plan has now backfired on them horribly. Most people will refuse to support a company that does such vile things and they will go out of business quickly.



    If only that were true...sadly, it isn't. 99% of those Best Buy customers know Jack about what they are buying, they trust the "experts" in the aisles.


    Unless someone is actively trying to bust the business relationship between the big boxes and Creative, CL will continue to do well. Bit of a black eye today; forgotten about in a heartbeat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    mobiGeek, Apr 6th, 2008 @ 9:23pm

    Re: R: to Harold

    (i don't remember his alias, but it was Dave-something)


    His name is Daniel_K

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This