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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Necessity of Planned Obsolescence

Chris Kortschot

Planned Obsolescence is the act of intentionally creating products that will require replacement in the short to midterm and it is a topic that continues to divide corporations from their end users. The end user argument is that products should be made in the best possible way because that is what stimulates competition most and competition drives progress.

The corporation looks at this argument in a slightly more realistic way however. At the heart of technological progress there are invariably corporations with long term and short term needs. If these needs are not met then there ceases to be a corporation and the amount that they contribute to the total progress disappears.

The only way these needs can be met and the technological advancements continue is to get people buying the product. The companies that try to sell the perfect product will forget that people still have needs now and that a half solution is better than a perfect solution in the future.

If Microsoft waited until they created the perfect operating system we would not be working on the advanced machines we know today.

If consumers want corporations to drive technological progress then they must realize that what they are buying is not a single product; it is part of a series of products all with ever increasing technological achievements that would not have been possible if consumers did not originally buy version 1.

This is also true for every other part of the series as well. There would not be a version 3 if people didn’t buy version 2 and the only reason that people bought version 2 is because version 1 became obsolete.

The basic premise of this post is that if consumers want better products, then the current ones have to become obsolete at some point.

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