Creative is truly a global company, based in Singapore and targeting a 18 - 49 year old market. Traditionally, they always bundled their products with major PC manufacturers and avoided appealing to the high end side of the PC audio marketplace. It was always viewed as the perfect peripheral to a prepackaged system. Today, they are considered low end, as Bose, Harman Kardon and JBL started integrating with the personal computing community. Creative is considered a step down today. They are trying to build their brand back within the MP3 space and sales indicate they are succeeding.
The award of the ZEN Patent in August 2005 was an important milestone in our research and development efforts, particularly for personal digital entertainment products. It recognized our early innovation and development efforts in portable media players. The ZEN Patent was awarded to Creative for our invention of the user interface for portable media players, including many of the Creative ZEN and earlier NOMAD® Jukebox MP3 players, and found in some competing players, such as the Apple® iPod® products, and certain cell phones with music functions. The ZEN Patent covers the user interface that enables users of portable media players to efficiently and intuitively navigate among and select tracks on players which store large numbers of songs.
--Excerpt taken from the 2006 Annual Report located at http://www.creative.com/corporate/investor/reports.asp