Creative Technology Has a Problem

Sim Wong Hoo, I’m Coming for YOU!
Sim Wong Hoo… Ga-jillionaire and Lover of Planned Obsolescence

This guy pictured here is the CEO of Creative Technology. My plan is to get an interview with him and pin him down. Why?

I have an mp3 player.

It isn’t an iPod, it’s one of HIS mp3 players, a Creative Nomad Muvo2. I bought it about five years ago. It’s really good and I like it alot.  It’s got 4G of space, which means I have tons of room for my playlists and it’s simple to use. I am a simple person– I don’t need or want all of music library on my player. I like to change things up often.

So that’s where Creative’s software comes in. The player comes with Creative Media Source, the software you use to rip CDs to your hard drive and then create your play lists. In terms of interface, I have always thought it was easy to understand. Once Colin convinced me, I was hooked. I even bought Colin the DADDY of the Creative MP3 the year after, the Creative Zen, which has 20 G of space and actually DOES have all of our music library on it. Great for travel.

Mr. Sim Gets Greedy 

Well, life wasn’t always happy with these MP3 players. The firmware upgrades were hard to find and didn’t always work. When I bought my laptop in the UK, the Media Source Software just refused to work on it. Fortunately, we had Colin’s Big Daddy computer and we always ran our software off that. The Media Source managed our entire sound library, and we relied on it. We even sort of liked it. We were patient with it.

Well, when we moved, Big Daddy computer didn’t survive the trip. We had everything backed up, fortunately, but the motherboard was DOA. We had to get a new computer. And guess what happened?

The old version of our Media Source software (which worked with my MP3 player) wasn’t compatable with the latest version of Windows. And, interestingly, Creative decided to do two very horrible things with the newest version of their software, the one we were forced to use with our new version of Windows:

1) You couldn’t rip CDs anymore… uh, DUH? Why not? Isn’t that the point? Oh, wait. Here’s the tool, but you have to PAY for it now.

2) Creative’s new software was NO LONGER compatible with its OLDER mp3 players. Meaning, I had a player with music on it that works great and still has 10 hour battery life, BUT I can’t update a single play list on it. Ever again.

Tech support confirmed that Creative didn’t support these players anymore.

Daddy doesn’t love you anymore.

“I’m Not Dead Yet!”

Sim spoke in an interview about how he intends to keep up with his competition (that you can read fully here). He made it perfectly clear why he doesn’t care about the death of my mp3 player.

Creative might be number two in the MP3 player market, but we are number one in the user interface market,” said Mr Sim. “I am okay with how many players they [Apple] sell because I will make money in the end.”

I am thinking: Number two might have something to do with his motivation for building products: cash versus customer. Because a) he is deluded about the interface issue and b) He will make money. No matter whether my product works with its own software or not.

The Bigger Issue 

So here’s what it is. It’s called “planned obsolescence” which is hard to say (and really hard to spell) but is simple: manufacturers of MANY products design these products to be OBSOLETE after a very short period of time, so you are forced to:

1) Throw them away (in the dump).

2) Buy another one (and give them more money).

Creative Nomad Muvo2… a Fine Mp3 with lots of life in it still!They do it because they don’t give a crap about you and even less about the earth. They, in fact, by their actions don’t even care about themselves, or their families.  They only care about PEOPLE as representatives of MONEY, shoppers.

And there’s a lot, I think, that the average shopper– er, American, needs to know about how they are being swindled by guys like Sim, and others manufacturers.

I’d recommend you set aside 20 minutes and watch Annie Leonard’s awesome short film called “The Story of Stuff.” Do it for me and my poor MP3 that just isn’t getting the respect it deserves.

Or it you just have a few seconds right now, at least watch this short snippet from the film on youtube, which explains planned obsolescence. It’s a start.

So even though Mr. Sim doesn’t look so fancy in this photo, rest assured, he’s got plenty o’ bucks in the bank. Buck he’s stashing and investing to get you to give him more bucks and throw more things away.

Why? Because even if his company is the number two behind iPod in making mp3 players, but Creative still grossed a billion last year. And he is probably thrilled to hear my perfectly healthy Muvo is ready for the dump.

Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home. 

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  3 comments for “Creative Technology Has a Problem

  1. February 1, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Looks like Sim Wong Hoo is in your basement – have you . . . . “detained” him?

    You’re not doing a Jack Bauer” job on him are you? Is water boarding actually a crime?

  2. Corwin Howlett
    February 5, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Rage against the machine! I’m with ya, sister,in your quixotic quest against planned obsolescence and the flushing of natural resources down the drain of the “replace don’t repair” economy. You can’t even find anyone who would think of repairing a dvd player – its just cheaper to replace it with another that will work six months, give up the ghost and start leaking chemicals into a landfill.
    That just P***es me off!

  3. Pingback: I Just Want to Say One Word to you… ARGH! « Honk If You Compost

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