Creative CEO: Apple iPod shuffle ‘a big let-down, worse than the cheapest Chinese player’

Creative says it has sold more than two million MP3 players last quarter. “While the Christmas season is over, Creative believes that demand will still be strong, and plans to continue with its production momentum this quarter,” Connie Tan reports for Channel NewsAsia.

Tan reports, “Over at MacWorld, Apple Computer has launched a new iPod digital music player costing as little as US$99. Chief executive Steve Jobs said Apple had sold 4.5 million units of its blockbuster iPod in the last quarter, almost double that of its nearest competitor, Creative’s Zen Micro. But Creative’s CEO Sim Wong Hoo says Creative is not worried about the new flash player from Apple eating into its market share.”

Said Mr Sim, “Actually, to me it’s a big let-down: we’re expecting a good fight but they’re coming out with something that’s five generations older. It’s our first generation MuVo One product feature, without display, just have a (shuffle feature). We had that — that’s a four-year-old product.

“So I think the whole industry will just laugh at it, because the flash people — it’s worse than the cheapest Chinese player. Even the cheap, cheap Chinese brand today has display and has FM. They don’t have this kind of thing, and they expect to come out with a fight; I think it’s a non-starter to begin with.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Whatever. One question: how many of the Creative players were considered “digital lumps of coal” and returned so that people could go get the Apple iPods they really wanted?


  1. moron. and who actually bought zen micros…two million? That.s not a small number…the world is full of stupid, stupid people [must ship only to red-states]. <– magic word was ‘left’, couldn.t help myself.

  2. I really doubt this 2 million number they are throwing around, I don’t know of one person who has ever bought one of their MP3 players, I’ve seen more Dell DJ’s than any Creative pos.

  3. hmmmm, too bad those crappy creative mp3 players don’t have itunes to work with, or the itunes music store….yeah, even If i liked anything from creative, I wouldn’t buy it cuz of the crappy software alone.

  4. What he is missing is the fact its not just the features of the player that make people love iPods of any type, its the smooth integration of player, computer and purchasing with iTunes/iTunes Music Store. Its a total package. They may have sold a lot of flash players in the past because people put up with them because they did not want to pay or could not pay $250 – $500 for an iPod to use with iTunes. Now they can pay $99 – $149 and get the ease of use from start to finish.

  5. It has nothing to do with the player, it has nothing to do with Flash memory, it has nothign to do with the features. No one gets it, it all has to do with iTunes. Apple is the first one to do it right, they put the experience before the hardware.

    I admit it – I bought the Nike mp3 player. 1) It was made by Phillips and 2) my wife wanted it because Oprah said it was a good buy. (last time I listen to her!)

    Anyway, the player was great in all honesty. It sounded great. The controls were easy to use. All in all is was good hardware. But where is really sucked was the software. My god did that SUCK! Transfering songs was like having sex with my ex-wife, it has to be easier then this!

    So yes, the iPod shuffle is the same as a 4 year old creative prduct. But, and this is a big but, it works with iTunes and it just looks cool! You can’t go against that.

    Apple wins today,

  6. MDN readers should stop the insults and analyze just a bit more.

    Creative is a big company with markets all over the world. Whatever Apple creates in hardware, they’ll easily match in price, quality, et al (it’s all made in the Far East, folks).

    But that’s not the point.

    Apple creates something entirely different and Creative cannot compete on that level. A pleasant experience.

    Ease of use, Mac and Windows, iTMS, iTunes, total package. Apple’s doing that right and has tremendous leverage. Once a market opens with Apple Stores, iTMS, iTunes (Mac and Windows), then “cool” sets in.

    Remember Steve’s numbers: once the iPod mini hit the streets, the US flash market share (of the total portable music player market) went down. That bodes well for Apple as it enters the flash market as current iPod owners will buy one and give as gifts.

    Have you seen anybody give a Creative portable player as a gift? Or stand in line to get one? Or a Dell DJ or Sony Walkman? Nope.

    Creative says they shipped 2-million MP3 players in the last quarter. That’s vs. Apple’s 4.5-million iPods in many fewer markets. What isn’t said is, of those 2-million MP3 players, how many were hard drive players?

    Not 2-million.

    And that, until yesterday, was the market Apple was in. Now they’re in the flash market, too, and the whole “package” is what the folks at Creative, Dell, Microsoft, and companies just don’t get.

    Microsoft Office on the Mac is a superb suite of products. They work like Mac products, play well on Mac OS X, and were designed by Mac programmers (albeit working for the dark side, eh?).

    However, I “switched” all my contacts and all my email to Mail/iCal/AddressBook/iSync.

    Why? They work better together and that’s the whole point. It isn’t the hardware. It isn’t a single piece of software. It’s how they work together.

    Apple gets it.

    Tera Patricks

  7. Let’s be real for a minute. The Creative CEO does make a valid point. The design is nothing innovative, the interface does lack a screen that could have been designed into, it will only play one playlist in order or shuffled, and there are plenty of other players that do way more (even the cheap, cheap Chinese ones).


    1. It’s got the Apple name and reputation.
    2. It’s already created a consistently good player in the iPod, thus, iPod shuffle is riding their coattails
    3. It’s got a loyal following of Apple evangelists that will speak wonders and make you buy one
    4. most importantly, and this is huge, it is the only flash based player that supports the iTunes Music Store and its FairPlay DRM scheme – the same DRM that Apple will not license out to other manufacturers (and makes those who crack it pay dearly for it).

    Sour grapes for Mr. Hoo? Perhaps. And Uncle Steve has got’em by the “you know whats”.

  8. The shuffle falls right into line with Apple’s philospohy- keep it simple and elegant. Like others said, the biggest part is the part you don’t readily see- the integration with iTunes. While Sim Wong Hoo-the hell-cares about Creative claims it is a 4 yewar old design, what he doesn’t get is that they didn’t get the design right 4 years ago. The iPod shuffle is perfect for excercising, jogging, etc. If you are doing these sorts of activities, you are not going to fumble around with a display and click wheel- you are going to pick a playlist and let ‘er go. Exactly what the iPod shuffle is designed to do. You don’t need a display for that. The iPod shuffle is for short-term activities or listening (if you call approx. 250 songs a short amount of time!). I can see more sold to current owners of iPods as “adders” than to newbies.

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