Planned Obsolescence

Planned obsolescence is a fact of life with software and hardware. While I appreciate resistance to support “old” software, often I hear or read people quip that vendors should not be expected to support “old” hardware. Often the definition of “old” is about five years.

My reply is, “Why not?”

The hardware has not changed. Well developed and tested drivers do not need to be updated. Drivers seldom need security patches. Simply, the hardware “just works.” There is nothing to maintain.

While the topic is complicated and competition and improvements in technology contribute to obsolescence, let’s be real. A primary motive behind planned obsolescence is not the illusion that supporting older hardware is time consuming or challenging, but that vendors want to encourage new sales.

At one time, perhaps only a generation or two ago, many manufacturers were proud to develop durable, high quality products that lasted many years or even a life time. The opposite attitude now exists with vendors trying to create a short life span for products, often as short as possible.

The illusion that everything has to be new and shiny is a slow death march toward killing the planet. Resources are finite.

Posted: Category: Commentary, Usability Tagged: General

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