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Creative vs Apple

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on August 30, 2005

Just as Apple is gearing up for the launch of a revamped and reportedly flash-based iPod mini, rival Creative Technology is hoping to steal the spotlight from the digital music juggernaut.

Creative says it has won a patent on a navigation interface for digital music players that is being widely used by others, including Apple for both the iPod and iPod mini. Company execs are being coy about whether they’re going to pursue back royalties and licensing from the alleged infringers, but it looks like a sure thing.

This comes after news earlier this month that a Microsoft employee had won a patent on another technology used in the iPod. Clearly, though, the Creative announcement appears more significant. (At least from the slides they showed to back up their claims).

You’ll recall that Creative had been considered a technology leader in the digital music field until Steve Jobs & Co. came along and made them look like an also-ran.

Creative tried to rally last year with a $100 million marketing campaign that left the company awash in red ink and still a distant No. 2 to Apple worldwide. The company is shipping new music and portable video players, but few are expecting them to beat Apple anytime soon, particularly since Jobs seems intent on refreshing the iPod lineup fairly regularly with tongue-drooling devices that make even owners of multiple iPods go back to the well.

The question now is will Apple cave to Creative’s implied demands and fork over some of that hard-earned cash, or will Jobs say “I’ll see you in court?”

Who woulda thunk the trials and tribulations of the equipment makers could be as entertaining as the music and video that people are loading onto their gear??

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Reader Comments


August 30, 2005 05:58 PM

Jobs cave...never.
I'm not a patent lawyer but those screen shots sure didn't look like anything new to me.

Justin Lee

May 17, 2006 05:08 AM

this is not a good strategy at all.. i think it's going to backfire on Creative.


December 22, 2007 04:28 PM

I have had 2 creative mp3 players die on me, stick w/apple.


December 30, 2007 07:55 PM

i think that creative is almost 100 percent better than apple music players. I don't know about their computers (apple) but , i have had a couple of apple i pods and they have had problems with them like freezing and i bought a creative zen v and the screen broke but i had recently bought a creative zen micro 6gb and it's way better in my shoes.


October 6, 2008 08:42 AM

I had 3 apple mp3's die on me Matt

Freezing, crashing hardware, all completely crappy.

Sinve then I have stuck with creative and they havent let me down.

So I guess it goes both ways then.


January 31, 2009 11:29 AM

nada como la creative tiene los mejores reproductores y mejor calidad de sonido digan lo q digan los demas

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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