Creative must be smarting a bit from the Vista-effect: 28% drop in quarterly revenue, 17% drop in yearly revenue; 93% increase in quarterly net loss but overall net income is up (whereas last year they lost a lot). Biggest difference is their change in operational losses, dropping from $145 million to $61 million (job losses?).
I was surprised most by these figures though:
Revenue by product category:
Personal Digital Entertainment = 57%
Audio = 15%
Speakers = 18%
Others = 10%
In other words, their sound cards generate just 15% of their revenue, whereas Zen and MuVo just sweep the board. Makes you wonder how much longer Creative will care about PC components, doesn't it?
The main reason why high end soundcard market is so dead? So high percentage of the target market has been burned by creative's crappy drivers and unfriendly policies (lost your cd? we can sell you a new one - no, we can't let you download the software) that they just think 'I'll live with this onboard crap, why pay money for extra problems?'
Sadly there is hardly any competition, because everyone is looking at creative's problems, and translate it to 'nobody wants to buy high end soundcards'.
I'd pluck down 100-200$ immediately if that would buy me a *solid*, *reliable*, soundcard with Dolby Digital Live support so I can just pipe multichannel game audio to the amp digitally. Plus it should actually offload audio processing from the CPU.
No such product in the market at the moment (The ASUS Xonar product line sounds interesting, but hasn't materialized yet, and no idea how stable and polished it is out of the box)
Well they stopped making graphics cards a while back so who to say the X-fi could be their last soundcard it been out now a good 2 and a bit years and we've heard nothing new coming from them since.
I mean their driver support for Vista has been nothing short of terrible even moreso if your an Audigy owner plus they started selling the X-Fi tech to other companies, also onboard audio is alot better these days and good enuf for most users.
Maybe they will just consentrate on making MP3 players ect in the future.