Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Planned Obsolescence and Modern Digital Devices

Planned obsolescence is an essential aspect of the economy.

A Cupertino company has shown it can be done successfully over decades,
exploiting a greatly flawed IP and patent law system, monopolising an intentionally "proprietary" system which attempts to exclude competition, and designing products for planned obsolescence.

Nick Bolton has it right at the New York Times in Disruptions: You Know You Can’t Live Without Apple’s Latest Glass Rectangle: Apple's New iPads and Planned Obsolescence in Devices.

But there are limits. See Austin Carr at Fast Company in Acer Execs Admit Innovator's Dilemma, Question How Long Apple Remains Apple.

One man's glass rectangle
is another man's protected patent
and the possible road to immense wealth.
But for how long?

The general developing realisation of the business and consumer public that it is being outsmarted via abuse of the patent and design laws is not stopping companies from developing new methods of planned obsolescence, such as incompatible plugs. Quite brilliant, actually. Such a simple scam to force users to buy the newest products.

We are gratified to see, as in Bolton's article above, that increasing numbers of people are realising that the patent wars are waged as minimally camouflaged product marketing, as corporations not only try to extract additional money by patent trolling, but stifle competition with temporary injunctions against competing product sale, etc.

When the patenting of allegedly "new" rectangles fails, new products that are incompatible with old ones are of course the simplest means to enforce "planned obsolescence", by forcing consumers to "upgrade" or "update", even if they otherwise would be quite comfortable with using what they already have.

Windows 8 anyone? How about Surface?

"Progress" has its price and the biggest rewards go to those who are clever at designing ways to exploit the widespread weaknesses of their fellow men, and these are infinite.

See Matt Braga at Tested
in Planned Obsolescence: Is Modern Tech Built to Last?

See e.g. Kyle Wiens at Wired in Copyright and Planned Obsolescence: The Shady World of Repair Manuals.

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