What is Planned Obsolescence?
Planned obsolescence, sometimes referred to as built-in obsolescence, or obsolescence by design is a strategy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life.
Planned Obsolescence and Computing
Once upon a time, the speed of change and innovation in computers meant that upgrading our devices every couple of years offered some genuine advantages. That is no longer the case.
Are the devices being launched this year materially better than the ones we bought a couple of years ago? No, they are not.
Do they do anything you can’t do with your existing machines? No, they don’t.
However, the makers of these devices have an interest in selling ever more of them. With nothing new to offer, customers are pushed into replacing perfectly serviceable kit because it can’t be upgraded to the latest OS. Your old OS will go out of support and will no longer be patched leaving it vulnerable to hackers.
Batterygate and OS Upgrade Rip-offs
The iPhone is perhaps the best-known example of planned obsolescence. Many remember the Batterygate controversy a few years ago. Under the guise of “delivering the best experience for customers”, Apple designed older phones to run slower or shut down as the battery lost power. Although the company denied it was intentional, battery life seemed unnaturally short. If you have ever replaced a battery in an iPhone, you will know that they don’t make it easy. Assuming you don’t want to pay a small fortune for a ‘genius’ to repair your phone, doing it yourself will invalidate the warranty.
Windows 11 is another good example. The latest OS version from Microsoft supports only eighth generation and newer Intel Core CPUs, along with equivalently recent AMD processors. This rules out any machines of a certain age from being upgraded, making millions of otherwise perfectly good PCs around the world obsolete. The amount of waste, unnecessary resource consumption and carbon emissions generated as a result is frankly criminal.
Planned Obsolescence is a Rip Off and it is Killing the Planet. Fight Back!
The good news is that you can fight back. Here are two ways you can overcome planned obsolescence.
Your Mobile Phones
When it comes to mobile phones, Fairphone is the anti-iPhone. It has been designed to be easily repaired or upgraded. Can you keep it forever? Unlikely no, but it is conceivable that you could keep it running and current for a decade.
With Windows in the cloud, it doesn’t matter what processor your computer has, it doesn’t matter how much storage it has, it doesn’t matter what version of TPM it supports. Pretty much any computer can run it.
Want to run Windows 11? It doesn’t matter what computer you have on your desk if the OS is in the cloud. Now you don’t need to replace those perfectly good computers. Your business doesn’t need to make an unnecessary capital investment.
With Windows in the cloud, you buy the CPU and RAM you need today, and you don’t need to worry about what resources you need in the future. Need to add more CPU or memory – no problem. Need to reduce it again. No problem.
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