AS Singapore's first listed, high-technology start-up and a global groundbreaker in its field, Creative Technology had a lot to live up to. But the high hopes raised by the company were dampened at the weekend when the it released dismal results. While sales for the third quarter, ended March 31, were up 55 per cent compared with a year ago, net income was down 60 per cent to US$11.2 million. The company blamed bad market calls, changing market conditions, foreign exchange problems and non-availability of chips for its falling margins. Yesterday, Creative shares plunged more than 26 per cent from S$13.60 to $10 in heavy trading of 656,700 shares. That fall left the company with a market capitalisation of $860 million - less than half the company's value at the beginning of the year. Creative originally sprang to prominence in the mid-1980s as the first manufacturer of sound card systems for personal computers. When the company first tried to list in Singapore, it found few friends at the stock exchange. So the owners turned to the American NASDAQ exchange instead. Officials in Singapore soon realised they had turned away one of the country's successful technology start-ups, and Creative listed in Singapore as well. Ironically, Creative's poor showing has led some analysts to say that Singapore's regulators may have been right when they first turned the company away. The company started with a monopoly in sound cards but now competitors have entered the field and margins are lower. At the same time, Creative has failed to move beyond its reliance on one product. The purchase of ShareVision Technology, an American company that makes video conferencing software for personal computers, was supposed to provide Creative with its next big product. But now Creative says it cannot source the chips needed for the product and consequently cannot make or sell it. Chips are a key factor in the sound-card business. The real winner is the Japanese company Yamaha, the only company in the world to manufacture the chips for sound cards. Creative is not living up to its early promises.