640K!enough wrote on 2020-02-15, 05:28:
That, friends, is exactly the attitude that leads to things like the 737 MAX 8. There's a lesson to be learned here; it didn't work for Creative, and I'm not so sure it will end well for Boeing, either. How long before Creative ends up where they forced Ad Lib? How long before governments have to prop up Boeing to stave off its implosion? It's time business schools started teaching these case studies: Creative's squandering of an empire, and the implosion of Boeing and the failure of the United States as a major player in commercial aviation that resulted from the profit-first mentality.
I don't disagree with your sentiment, really. Airliners are a much different business than sound cards, though while the scale of importance is vastly different, the model is the same. Boeing is going to be profit-first just as much as anybody, because that's the system we've agreed on. People have to be motivated by something, and money == livelihood is pretty effective. Though far from perfect. Anyway, having questionable safety standards has a severe impact on your trustworthiness, and reputation is hard to get back once squandered. Particularly when 150 lives can be lost with one oopsie. Ergo, there's a financial incentive not to build flimsy jets. In general, we seem to be OK with "Good Enough." The Max fell short of that.
640K!enough wrote on 2020-02-15, 05:28:
When Creative was still relevant, they had the name, the market dominance and the resources to do something truly innovative. Instead, they contented themselves with follow-the-leader, only ever rushing new products to market when it was clear somebody else was about to eat their lunch, and courtroom machinations. At the very least, they could have paid someone to develop decent software for them, and shipped quality WHQL-certified drivers that weren't known to single-handedly de-stabilise a system, but they were too busy counting the money from people who were gullible enough to buy their over-priced, under-performing junk. Sometimes, the hardware was somewhat passable, absent their borderline-false-advertising, grandiose marketing, but the software made it a better fit for the wastebasket.
I would argue that Creative walked the line of "good enough" up to the point where the industry just moved on without them. A really savvy business owner may have pivoted to another market, rather than trying to milk PC audio in an era when half of us aren't even using a DAC in the computer itself anymore. If they failed today, I would say they were, overall, a successful company for the period in which their product line had market relevance. They survived a lot longer than some other big names from back then.
I'm also unable to come up with any personal evidence of software quality issues. Around the XP days, they started getting ridiculous with the bloated media players and control panel apps, but that was industry par at the time. I remember 200MB+ printer driver downloads being normal around that time. It's not an excuse, they're just not worthy of being cast as uniquely evil in that regard.
Before that, the drivers always seemed... fine. I never had stability issues I could pin on the sound card. (Far more often, shoddy PSUs.) The Live! variants debacle was obnoxious, but even that... you weren't really intended to end up with bare Dell OEM cards via Ebay. I had some issues with Permedia 2 drivers this weekend, but TBH, I'm not sure the first set I tried was even meant for the model I had, and the 2nd set I tried worked 100% fine. So that's about a typical experience, I would say.
In terms of software bundles, I got tons of mileage out of the AWE CP, Vienna SF Studio, EAX, the PC-DVD player, etc. etc. The Live! bundle seemed like a treasure trove. Kinda hard to find something to complain about there. My MediaVision years gave me a so-so MOD player and some smaller media apps for Windows. Meh. Just starting to dig in to the GUS software suite, but from what I've seen, it's a mixed bag of cool stuff and... uh.. not.. so great.