Sim Wong Hoo was widely known as the the founder, chairman, and CEO of Creative Technology, a Singapore-based company known for its innovative and high-quality audio products.
Unfortunately, Sim passed away on Wednesday (January 4) at the age of 67, leaving behind a legacy as a successful businessman and innovative thinker.
Born in Singapore in 1955, Sim developed an early interest in music and technology, which led him to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at the National University of Singapore.
After graduation, he started his career in 1981 by opening a small computer repair shop in Chinatown with his childhood friend Ng Kai Wa. Ng, who is now an independent non-executive director of Creative, has since been appointed as acting vice-chairman following Sim’s death.
Back then, the duo’s first project was a multilingual computer with sound and music capabilities, but it was not successful due to a lack of demand and third-party support.
In 1988, Sim established an office in the United States and began selling the standalone Sound Blaster sound card, which quickly gained popularity in the gaming industry and led to the success of Creative Technology.
Four years later in 1992, the company became the first Singaporean company to be listed on the US Nasdaq stock exchange, and by 2000, Sim was named Singapore’s youngest billionaire at the age of 45.
The legal tussle between Creative and Apple
In 2005, Creative infamously sued tech giant Apple, claiming that Apple’s iPod infringed on its patent for an “MP3 player with an adjustable backlight.”
The case went to trial in 2007, and the jury ultimately found in favour of Creative, awarding it US$100 million in damages.
Apple appealed the decision, and the case made its way to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In 2010, the appeals court overturned the jury’s decision, ruling that Apple did not infringe on Creative’s patent.
However, Creative was not satisfied with the outcome and appealed the case to the Supreme Court. In 2011, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, effectively ending the legal battle between the two companies.
Despite the legal tussle, both Apple and Creative continued to thrive in the tech industry. Apple’s iPod remained a popular digital audio player, and Creative continued to produce a range of audio products, including headphones and speakers.
In fact, when Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, Sim paid tribute to the Apple co-founder with a full-page newspaper advertisement that read: “Thank you for the great lessons. Thank you for the great products. Thank you for bringing a bit of us to the whole world.”
A man to be remembered
Under Sim’s leadership, Creative Technology has grown into a global brand, with a reputation for producing some of the best audio products on the market.
One of the company’s most notable products is the Sound Blaster, a line of sound cards that revolutionised personal computer audio and helped establish Creative Technology as a leader in the field.
In addition to the Sound Blaster, Creative Technology has also released a range of other audio products, including headphones, speakers, and portable music players. These products have won numerous awards and accolades for their design and performance, and have helped establish Creative Technology as a trusted and respected brand in the audio industry.
Today, Creative has global offices in Shanghai, Tokyo, Dublin, and Silicon Valley, and last year, it raked in sales of US$61 million.
Sim is known not only for his business acumen, but also for his passion for music and his commitment to innovation. He has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible with audio technology, and has helped bring high-quality sound to millions of people around the world.
Despite the challenges and setbacks that he has faced over the years, Sim has remained dedicated to the success of Creative Technology and has played a key role in the company’s growth and development.
He is widely respected in the industry as a visionary and a leader, and his contributions to the world of audio technology will be remembered for years to come.
Featured Image Credit: Creative Technology