Business and technology are forever linked together in one inseparable mass. Technology drives business: it drives new products, it drives improvements in efficiency, it drives companies out of business. Business drives technology: it drives what gets researched, it drives what gets invented, it drives the pace of technological progress. Each drives the other, the feedback from each further changing how one or the other progresses.

One only needs to look as far as the CPU industry to get an idea of just how this works. Intel has a strong business that keeps the company floating when one or more aspects of their technology portfolio are faltering, and having such wealth buys them technology advantages such as smaller processes sooner. Meanwhile AMD has a strong technology portfolio that keeps the company going even when business is bad, putting the company years ahead of Intel in in areas like the server market. Here the dynamic duo of HyperTransport and the Integrated Memory Controller have kept the company ahead of the Core2's onslaught over the past year (and will continue at least until Nehalem arrives).

It's because of the intertwined nature of business and technology that we sometimes have trouble conveying the whole situation when trying to talk about technology; some things can't make sense without an understanding of the business situation too. In recognition of that we are starting a new series "The Business of Technology," looking at companies and their technology from the side of business instead of the side of technology. From this perspective we can comment on things when it's not possible to do so from the technology side, and come to a better understanding on how for the companies we cover their business and technology situations are both driving their future.

Bear in mind that this is new ground for us, and how we go about things in the future will no doubt change with the times. We'd like to hear back from you, our readers, on how informative you find this approach, and how we can better deliver information from it. We'd like to bring everything to you in a well-rounded when possible.

The brand that started it all

With that out of the way, we're starting this series with Creative Technology Ltd, better known as Creative Labs. Creative has a long and rich history, the culmination of which was the creation of the SoundBlaster line of sound cards and the associated audio standard, which brought the full spectrum of synthesized and recorded audio to the PC. Although they have since expanded in to many other markets, Creative has and continues to be primarily a sound company, and was the king of sound cards... until recently.

Creative by The Numbers
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  • calyth - Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - link

    I thought Creative made some great soundcards, until I've suffered from an improperly grounded SB Live (then their flagship sound card). Their mounting bracket was not grounded properly, resulting in one dead SB Live card, one dead SCSI controller, and a non-functional PSU.

    I found that the Aureal 3D support on the Hercules Fortissimo II gave a much better directional sound in EAX, and had it not been the lack of hardware mixing in Linux for the Hercules sound cards, I wouldn't have gone back to the Audigy 2.

    To this day, their support for non-Windows OS is kinda spotty - they release their manuals in .chm, the only computing hardware manufacturer that I know that uses this format instead of PDF. Their flagship X-Fi has only recently got a lousy driver for Linux 64bit. Their MP3 players are nothing to write home about.

    I personally can't wait until they're gone.
  • 0roo0roo - Friday, October 12, 2007 - link

    yup, i'm glad ms sunk them. they've always been on the wrong side, i used to buy aureal cards which had better technology but sadly they went down. i refused to pay premium for a monopoly on gaming audio, and frankly i didn't really miss out. their technology has been stagnant while they milked gamers with high prices, well the gravy train is at an end. we have cores to spare for audio that can be improved without paying for a new card. win win.
  • sheh - Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - link

    CHM documentation? That's the first good thing I hear about Creative in a while.

    PDF = for printing.
    CHM = for active reading or searching.

    Try"> (never used it, but I think it should do).

  • Missing Ghost - Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - link

    I agreed. I really wish that Creative will die, we don't want them.
  • Jodiuh - Tuesday, October 2, 2007 - link

    Die Creative. Die. And I've got an X-Fi. :D

    Wo/ it, my GPU would be cooler tho.

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