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Creative's given me another reason not to buy their gear

07/09/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://crunchgear.com/2007/07/05/creative-charges-999-for-enhanced-vista-drivers/

Creative, makers of the Audigy, SoundBlaster cards as well as my unloved wireless media player, have decided to start charging for the Vista versions of their drivers. I'm very much opposed to vendors doing this; one would expect that the software and hardware were considered to be the same bundle and that fixes to drivers should be part of the purchase deal. Given that Creative's software is invariably as buggy as all get-out when initially released, I don't tend to trust what's supplied on the CDs with the equipment.

They've done this before too when they pulled all of their drivers from their website for Windows 98 a few years back and started charging for the CDs instead. That didn't last too long. I hope this won't either.

Not that I'm really planning on buying any more Creative gear or upgrading to Vista but things can always change.

Anyway, I think this quote from ZDNet pretty much says it all:

The arguments over whether this is a software update that Creative has released on a driver continues. To be honest, I’m not going to get involved word games. Anyone buying a Audigy card would have been provided a CD that contained drivers and software to make EAX work. Whether that’s a driver or software, I’m not sure, but the point is that people who bought an Audigy sound card and who have moved to Vista now have to pay to reactivate something that previously worked. If the EAX features were controlled by code written by a third party (examples here are say Sage TV for a TV tuner card) then a charge would be acceptable. Since EAX support is developed and controlled by Creative, and since this support is made available for free for X-Fi cards, making users pay for the Audigy update sounds an awful lot to me like Creative is charging the customer ten bucks because they can. This charging for software updates comes across as scary to me and could usher in an era where we have to dip out hands into our pockets on a regular basis for updates, whether they are drivers or software.

(Via BoyGeniusReport)


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