Tech

Creative Labs founder Sim Wong Hoo, creator of Sound Blaster, dies

Summary: Hu founded Creative Technology (known in the US as Creative Labs) in mid-1981, but it wasn’t until the end of the decade that the company released a special Sound Blaster audio processing card. The expansion card did pretty much everything that the competing product from market leader AdLib did, and added extra features like a game port for less money.

Creative Technology founder, chairman and CEO Sim Wong Hu passed away last week, his company recently confirmed. He was 67 years old.

The Sound Blaster soon became the best-selling PC add-on card and a household name among PC enthusiasts and gamers. Creative dominated the sound card market throughout the 90s and early 2000s and became the de facto provider of quality PC audio before motherboard manufacturers began integrating ever higher quality integrated audio into their offerings by downgrading discrete audio maps to niche category status.

Creative was also an early entry into the MP3 player market with its Nomad and Zen line of portable media players. The company even won a $100 million lawsuit against Apple for licensing its Zen patents.

TechSpot readers of a certain age almost certainly have experience with Creative product range, be it sound cards, speakers or MP3 players. I’ve personally tried a couple of Audigy branded cards over the years and most recently replaced a Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme that one of my cats messed up with a Sound Blaster Z. I could just as easily use the onboard audio, but my motherboard is ancient , and I also like the Sound Blaster Crystalizer dynamic range amplifier. There is also some nostalgia; I would very much like to own one of these 5.25″ disc bay head units someday, just for the sake of aesthetics.

After his death, Creative’s reign appointed Lee Kheng Nam as Acting Chairman. Song Xio Hui, president of the company’s business unit, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.


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