Outrage over Creative’s decision to remove user-modded Vista driver post

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Outrage over Creative’s decision to remove user-modded Vista driver post

Mountain House (CA) – There is a storm developing around Creative Labs, as the company is opening fire against rivals and users on multiple fronts. Last week, TG Daily reported about a developing sound card battle between Asus and Creative . In about the same time frame, the company is sharply criticizing one of its forum users who has made available Windows Vista sound card drivers that offer a similar functionality that was offered in the Windows XP package.    

Creative Labs vice president of communications, Phil O’Shaugnessy removed a post of last week which linked to a user-modded sound card driver. According top users, this driver eliminates some current problems in Creative’s current Vista drivers, covering features such as Dolby Digital and DTS decoding as well as DVD audio.   

O’Shaugnessy justified the removal of the post by saying that Daniel_K’s drivers “in effect” are “stealing [Creative’s] goods.”  

He wrote:

“We are aware that you have been assisting owners of our Creative sound cards for some time now, by providing unofficial driver packages for Vista that deliver more of the original functionality that was found in the equivalent XP packages for those sound cards.  In principle we don’t have a problem with you helping users in this way, so long as they understand that any driver packages you supply are not supported by Creative.  Where we do have a problem is when technology and IP owned by Creative or other companies that Creative has licensed from, are made to run on other products for which they are not intended.  We took action to remove your thread because, like you, Creative and its technology partners think it is only fair to be compensated for goods and services.  The difference in this case is that we own the rights to the materials that you are distributing.”  

(…) “Although you say you have discontinued your practice of distributing unauthorized software packages for Creative sound cards we have seen evidence of them elsewhere along with donation requests from you.  We also note in a recent post of yours on these forums, that you appear to be contemplating the release of further packages.  To be clear, we are asking you to respect our legal rights in this matter and cease all further unauthorized distribution of our technology and IP.”  

Forum users were furious about O’Shaugnessy’s, but Daniel-K said that he would stop “developing and distributing Creative software and drivers.” He noted that Creative was faster at “protecting [its] technologies and intellectual properties than providing improved drivers and software for [its] customers.”

It appears that there are also financial problems brewing in Creative’s future. Despite a recent $100 million payout from a patent dispute with Apple, Creative is currently selling one its headquarter building in Singapore to improve its cash position. Creative is expected to post fiscal Q3 2008 sales of about $150 million, down from $262.2 million in the prior quarter. The company still expects to post a net profit due to the $130 million (US) sale of the headquarter.