Death dating vs planned obsolescence

The consumer electronics market changes tremendously fast.

New gadgets are introduced every week and the producers need to make sure their customers buy them accordingly.

Over time, scratches appear, colors fade, abrasions occur, plating falls off… The customer will replace his old and shabby gadgets sooner than those which look good.

Therefore producers try to design electronic gadgets in a way that they look brand new for a short time only—the first scratch appears very soon.

Marketers have found ways to convince us to buy a new gadget even though our old gadget is fully or mostly functional.

Profit is their motivation: shorter times between sales equal more sales overall.

It gets nastier: It’s called planned obsolescence when products are deliberately designed to fail after a certain time.

Style obsolescence happens when the gadget works totally fine and the only flaw is that it isn’t popular anymore.

Once opened, you might find out that the required spare part is no longer available.

Very often, when putting a new gadget on the market, commonly available features are being deliberately omitted.

Normal customers don’t base their buying decision on circuit board design, and normal customers will replace their PC when it becomes unstable. Incompatibilities open a variety of sales opportunities like adapters, upgrades or full replacements. Incompatibilities come in the form of incompatible device drivers, incompatible plugs, incompatible file formats and file systems, incompatible operating systems, incompatible hardware—you get the picture.

Here’s an example with file formats: Document files created with Microsoft Office 2007 ending in x like *or *could not be opened with older Office 2003 Versions.

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