Creative Backs Down, Reinstates Spurned Developer

Creative Labs heard your chest-beating across the internet and decided to reinstate spurned developer Daniel_K less than a week after booting him from their forums. Unlike Creative, Daniel_K issued drivers that allowed Creative sound cards to work properly under Vista, and even enabled previously crippled features. The drivers were downloaded over 100,000 times. The company thanked the developer by accusing him of “enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, [in] effect, stealing our goods.” Even though he has been reinstated, Daniel_K is still pissed.

“They publicly threatened me, just to show their arrogance,” he told El Reg by email.

He told us that Creative contacted him on a chat session. “They were sarcastic, ironic and asked me if I wanted something from them, as if I were expecting something,” he wrote. “It was my protest against them and would like to see how far it would go.”

He acknowledges that Creative has a case regarding intellectual property, but is furious about the company’s strategy. “I’d say they are stealing [from] their own customers by disabling features based on technologies they own (so they did it on purpose) and by charging for a software that requires an improved driver that they refuse to provide.”

“At least they are getting flamed all over the web and they are certainly mad about it. That is enough reward for my hard work,” he wrote.

Though Creative claims that their eviction notice “did not make it as clear as we would have liked that we do support driver development by independent third parties,” the company is hardly contrite. A statement released to the press defiantly declared that they do not support or appreciate “the unauthorized distribution of other companies’ property.” Way to learn from the experience, Creative.

Creative climbs down over home brew Vista drivers [The Register]
(Photo: Young Frankenstein)
PREVIOUSLY: Creative Sparks Customer Revolt When It Tries To Silence Third-Party Programmer


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  1. r081984 says:

    If they could not make good enough drivers they should have hired the guy as a consultant to help them out.

    Based on how everything played out, it is obviously Creative does not have and leaders running their company and just money drones. It is sad when the people in charge forget that they are only paid because of their customers.

  2. zentex says:

    this is soooo yesterday’s news…

  3. snoop-blog says:

    sounds to me like the only thing he expected was props from creative customers. what a bunch of asshats.

  4. astraelraen says:

    While he obviously did some good by enabling features that SHOULD have been enabled on the Vista drivers for the X-fi, etc cards. From what I understand, he also enabled some proprietary Creative technology to work on non-creative cards. That is not okay and clearly a violation of law.

  5. coopjust says:

    While you could argue the IP point, I have to argue in favor of the modified drivers. The originals produce so much static on Vista x64 that sound is unusable, and Daniel_K’s drivers are perfect on my x64 setup. The ONLY reason that I am considering buying another X-Fi is because the modified drivers exist. The sound quality is superb with them.

    However, at this point I feel much more inclined to buy from another manufacturer instead of rewarding creative. Can anyone suggest a well priced card with great drivers for Vista x64 and good sound quality? Creative keeps on getting worse with the crippling, bundled demos, etc.

  6. Keat says:


    AFAIK, the technology he enabled was on Creative cards in which it had been disabled in the drivers.


    It’s not that Creative can’t make the drivers, they just choose not to in an attempt to get people to buy X-Fi cards. All daniel_k did was rework the drivers to work on the older cards and get working on Vista some of the XP apps.

  7. tjhva says:

    Asus will be attacking Creatives market share soon, with their line of impressive cards. Creative is already shaking in their boots.

  8. Trai_Dep says:

    Older cards that Creative advertised as working. What jerks.
    He should make a version that has an embedded sound file that calls them jackasses every time options are changed.

  9. DimitroffVodka says:

    I was in the market for a Vista capable and didn’t buy Creative for this exact reason. I used to be a Creative fan boy cause they made a quality product. After this I just don’t know the future for them.

    I ended up purchasing a Turtle Beach Montego DDl cause of the reviews of it working well in Vista 32bit and 64 bit.


    Good reviews across the board for such a low price. I am installing this in my HTPC so quality counts for me

  10. humphrmi says:

    This is what happens when you have lawyers run companies instead of leaders and visionaries.

  11. edrebber says:

    Creative will steal Daniel’s drivers and take full credit and profit for the solution.

  12. SpecialEd says:

    Screw Creative. There are too many other options for their crappy products. I have bought plenty of equipment and none of it has ever been a Creative product. Their prices are outrageous and, as has been noted, their drivers have always been substandard.

  13. DuckSeason says:

    “Oh noes, the Internet is mad! Quick, fake a half-assed apology so maybe he’ll help us out for free again!”

  14. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    Worst. Corporate. Apologetic. Recovery. EVER!

    –My stance still stands. I *WILL NEVER* buy another Creative product again [till those asshats that are sitting in the board room are replaced.]

  15. steven_t says:

    It took this whole debacle to make me remember, but now that I think about it, driver problems have plagued Creative products for years. I’ve been using Sound Blaster cards of one form or another since way back in 1994.

    I remember now what happened to SB Live! cards when Windows 2000 came out. It took them almost a year or a year and a half to update the silly drivers for Win2K and in the meantime there were tons of static and other weirdnesses going on. We were using hacked drivers then to make it work. Guess history just repeats itself over and over.

    That being said, I’m hopeful regarding some of the alternatives that I’ve heard about in Creative threads – Turtle Beach and the Asus products. I’ll certainly be exploring using one of those in my next computer.

  16. rdldr1 says:

    I blame Vista.

  17. ViperBorg says:

    @rdldr1: I blame Creative.

  18. Sifl says:

    I blame it on The Boogie… well and Disco too!

  19. Sifl says:

    I blame it on The Boogie… and Disco too!

  20. TruPhan says:

    Ugh, grow up Creative.

  21. bravo369 says:

    If creative does not want a sound card to have certain features then they should make sure mods don’t work. To me this is like intel saying you can’t overclock the processor. I also think it’s stupid for Creative to release a product and not take full capability of what it can do. Wouldn’t that be the best way to lead the marketplace? give the more expensive cards even MORE features instead of crippling cheaper ones.

  22. yikz says:

    I have seen companies do this in the past. Upper management has lost touch with their customers. The emperor has no clothes. Instead of embracing their customers, they’ve gotten greedy. They think they’re in the drivers’ seat.

    Companies who understand their customers, and meet their needs with good products are usually well-liked. Look at the number of companies who have disappeared in the past 10 years. All it takes is a single dumb mistake, and you’re washed up.
    Creative is rapidly turning their customers away. They won’t be around much longer unless they change their ways. They will be like USRobotics in the late ’90s. In this day and age, computer hardware is a commodity. An inexpensive hardware manufacturer from overseas could easily step in, embrace the open source community for both Windows and Linux, and knock Creative off their perch, and I doubt Creative could recover.

  23. sleze69 says:

    @yikz: I think broadband killed US Robitics. I don’t even think my Latitudes come with modems any more.

  24. TechnoDestructo says:


    Exactly. When graphics card manufacturers or (to some degree) CPU manufacturers want to make different tiers of products, they make actual physical differences in the hardware to limit the capabilities of that hardware. Is that a little scummy in cases where it would cost them no more to make everything have all the bells and whistles? Maybe…but in the case of overclocking there’s a silver lining.

    This kind of reminds me of Polaroid and Kodak. When digital photography started killing off their film market, they both kind of sat around and did nothing for a while, but then Kodak really went in that new direction with a vengeance…they made awesome photo printers almost right off the bat, and now they’ve got cameras (in some segments anyway) as good as anyones…while Polaroid half-assed it and are now spiraling towards oblivion.

    Instead of making a better embedded sound chip than anyone else, something that Intel and Nvidea and Via would love to be able to add to their products, they’re just kind of standing around picking their noses.

  25. azntg says:

    Creative, get your f*cking act together or die!

  26. Pro-Pain says:

    I will never purchase another Creative product again. Period. The damage has been done. Moving on…

  27. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Pro-Pain: Good for you! I’m sure that’ll make them change any second now. Waiting… waiting…


  28. JeffM says:

    ASUS is making sounds cards? I’m so done with Creative- I asked their customer service e-mail for a written address because I wanted to formally complain about the “Vista capable” crippled soundcard I bought and their gesture to pay $10 to “fix it” with software really makes you feel the warmth.

    A Taiwanese contract manufacturer instead of Creative? Sign me up. :(

  29. JeffM says:

    Oh- and on that note do you guys have EECB contacts for Creative?

  30. Yup damage has been done.
    Creative hasn’t changed their ways. This is a half-arsed turn-about. They still will handle future cases of this type of situation with the same ignorance.

    Screw creative. I hope they go out of business.

  31. I bought the woot sound card the other day, read great reviews about it. I will no longer support Creative and will only give money to companies who actually support their products. I will look into Turtle Beach as well, but for now, the Razer card will be my sound card of choice.

    I’m sorry Creative, get your $hit together, properly support YOUR products, then I’ll consider purchasing another sound card from you.

  32. Bill Brasky says:

    If they had any business sense, they’d make the guy head of R&D.

  33. humphrmi says:

    If they had any business sense, they wouldn’t piss off such a large pool of their customers to begin with. Then, if they had any remaining shred of business sense, they would realize their mistake and issue an actually contrite apology rather than a bunch of PR and legal BS that they think makes them look like heroes but actually makes them look like chumps.

  34. thewriteguy says:


    There are no on-board sound chips developed by Creative or ones by another company that utilize the Creative’s technology or patents? (I really don’t know — I’m just asking.)

    I have wondered why I’ve never heard of a motherboard being promoted as featuring an on-board sound chip by Creative… but I figured I just wasn’t looking hard enough.

  35. SwampAssJ says:


    Get several thousand, hundreds of thousands doing this then it will work. Sarcastic little swine.

  36. davlee says:

    Creative has a long, sorry record of great hardware deliberately hobbled by drivers.

    The SB Live is a great example: key features of the sound chip were purposely left off. A Russian-based independent project, KX, unlocked these features, no thanks to Creative.

    Years later, the Creative Ipod also-ran Zen Touch shipped with buggy firmware that- to this day – still doesn’t support all the features the hardware is capable of and was promised on th package.

    Creative is interested in selling new things. They are not interested in supporting what they’ve already sold you. It’s the best reason in the world to buy from *any* other manufacturer: who knows what features promised at purchase time will be only half-working when you unpack the product at home?

  37. KD17 says:

    To be honest I never thought Creative’s sound cards were that great. I mean yeah their cards are not junk but you can get just as good (imo) for less.

  38. ogman says:

    I suspect this has a lot to do with Lithium, the company now running their forums. The moderators at Lithium constantly take a no-compromise, scorched-earth attitude towards any post or member that they deem to be infringing on the rules of the forum or to be violating any company policy. They cannot be talked to and it’s kind of surprising that the reinstatement even occurred. I’ve never seen a forum run by Lithium that did not go straight in the toilet. In fact, many companies that have hired them have seen decreased forum usage and many customers threatening to stop buying products due to the lack of actual support offered by the forums, often the only real support offered by today’s tech companies.

  39. backbroken says:

    Customers are making our products better!!! Oh Noes!1!!!

  40. Negative says:

    @ogman: Is that what happened to the Tom’s Hardware forums?

    They used to be so good but now they are terrible.

  41. lostalaska says:

    I bought a copy of Vista premium and installed it as a dual boot with win XP on my PC. I had massive amounts of static and audio corruption on my SB Audigy 2. So I switched over to the on board audio of my motherboard and it worked beautifully. I also had problems with my Nvidia 6800GT having graphical corruption every time UAC would pop up with it’s fancy Direct X effects blurring the background. It was fun clicking randomly on the middle of the screen trying to hit the cancel button that was hidden behind a bunch of lines and image distortions.

    I hadn’t heard that Creative was charging money for the sound blaster software upgrade that was disabling features and painfully buggy. Way to go Creative, you’re burning bridges at an alarming rate now days.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Comment on Creative Backs Down, Reinstates Spurned Developer And the same goes for Creative’s MP3 players. They have not yet written a
    Vista driver for their Zen Micro – rendering the player useless in Vista.
    Speaking of arrogance, I can’t even contact them by any means since I’m out
    of warranty. I wish you’d add them to your “Worst Companys” vote. I. too,
    will never purchase another Creative product.

    Bob Yesselman

    6049 Hazeltine Plz

    Palm Springs, CA 92264

    760.832.8239 (land)

    646.303.4254 (cell)