Creative under fire for taking down custom Vista drivers

Nvidia received some flak for lagging behind competitors in producing complete Windows Vista drivers (and causing substantial stability problems in the process), but another target for criticism from early Vista adopters has been Creative. One user in particular was so dissatisfied with Creative's efforts that he developed and distributed his own Vista drivers for Sound Blaster sound cards. However, that effort caught the eye of Creative, which posted a cease-and-desist note on its forums asking "Daniel_K" to take down all of his unofficial drivers.

According to a report by DailyTech, Creative's Vista drivers for Audigy series sound cards leave off a number of features that were present in the Windows XP drivers. Among those are DVD audio support, a software equalizer, CMSS stereo surround effects, THX options, and Dolby Digital/DTS decoding. Daniel_K's drivers re-enabled these features, but Creative's statement suggests the decision to not offer them in Vista was intentional: "If we choose to develop and provide host-based processing features with certain sound cards and not others, that is a business decision that only we have the right to make."

Both Creative's move and the phrasing of the cease-and-desist note itself angered a considerable number of users in the company's forums—enough to fill the thread with over 230 pages of replies—and led sites like Slashdot to report on the news. In the note, Creative states bluntly, "By enabling our technology and IP to run on sound cards for which it was not originally offered or intended, you are in effect, stealing our goods."

With Daniel_K's drivers now out of the picture, some are considering resorting to the legal system to get back the features they say they paid for. One Creative forum member who calls himself MrCobra claims he filed a complaint with the Indiana State Attorney General's Office, in which he alleges that Creative is selling a product "unfit for its advertised purpose" and that the firm is violating consumer protection laws in doing so.

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