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planned obsolescence

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Planned obsolescence is the concept that a product should be designed and produced with the knowledge that it will only be popular, useful and functional for a limited length of time.

The term planned obsolescence was popularized in the 1950s by industrial designer Brooks Stevens, who proposed that corporations should think about a product's entire lifecycle during the design phase and anticipate the consumer's natural desire to continually own something a little newer and a little better. Stevens proposed that an iterative approach to product design would not only help keep production costs down, it would also inspire the consumer to make a purchase a little sooner than might be absolutely necessary, which in turn, would keep the economy growing and create a secondary market for used products.

Over the years, critics have blamed the concept of planned obsolescence for everything from poor product quality to the creation of a disposable society that no longer knows what it's like to live in a world where products were "built to last." Proponents of planned obsolescence point out that technology is changing very quickly and it is simply common sense for manufacturers to acknowledge the end of a product's lifecycle and plan ahead for it.

In the computer industry, where iterative software and hardware releases cause obsolescence to occur much faster than in other industry sectors, failure to plan for obsolescence is a real concern. In many data centers, where refresh cycles occur every three years and e-waste disposal is legislated, hardware must be discarded in an environmentally responsible way. 

This was last updated in January 2016

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Hi,

There is a way to fix your computer related equipment without replacing parts. A computer technician discovered a fix for planned obsolescence in computers and related equipment. You can use this or keep buying IT equipment every time the authors of planned obsolescence want you to while feeding China's economy.

https://sites.google.com/site/reallybigfix

Please spread the word.

Thanks
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Planned obsolescence where not a product of consumer demands it was the product of political and economical lobbying by peoples like Bernard London, Brooks Stevens etc. It was the notion to be internalized by the consumer itself so the consumer rather saw the need in buying items in regular intervals even if they still worked; to save the market that is - to keep it going. So even in a market without OP companies would still see the need for development to secure their future. A costumer still would buy a new product, ex. an Ipod, when a new feature would be added. A company would still create perceived 'needs' to buy the next version of a product. Added services, added functions etc. etc. OP should be absolutely worked against because of the waste it produces.
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A theory of "Planned Obsolescence" applied to the iPad: http://bit.ly/1bquBLO
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It seems realistic, considering that all hardware and software moves towards becoming obsolete over time, like it or not. We never have the time to maintain software, yet somehow the leadership team is always surprised when a 15-year-old application is no longer working.
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