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Planned obsolescence and made to fail





“Designed to Fail”: a brief history


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When one looks up the definition of “Planned Obsolescence” in Wikipedia, it scratches on the surface: “The rationale behind the strategy is … reducing the time between repeat purchases … There is an information asymmetry between the producer – who knows how long the product was designed to last – and the consumer, who does not.” In plain English: producers fool consumers while hoping to see them again sooner and sooner.

A good starting point to find out more is to watch The Light Bulb Conspiracy. This award-winning documentary traces the story of planned obsolescence. In the 1920s, light bulbs lasted 2500 hours on average, but by 1940 the average had become 1000. Official documents showed in the documentary found that a secret cartel from the 3 biggest producers at the time agreed that no light bulb should last longer than 1000 hours and members would have to pay fines to the cartel based on how much over this limit their light bulbs lasted.

In 1932 Bernard London wrote “Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence.” He wanted the government to make planned obsolescence on consumer articles compulsory by law, to stimulate and perpetuate consumption. But why make it public and enforce it by law when companies do it secretly – thus avoiding the difficult public explanation of why it is needed to make things less good?

When Dupont invented Nylon socks in 1940, tests were made on the wives and daughters of the engineers who made them. They didn’t show any signs of developing ladders. That was a bad business model. So Dupont’s engineers were ordered to make them less strong.

In 1960, cultural critic Vance Packard published The Waste Makers, promoted as an exposé of “the systematic attempt of business to make us wasteful, debt-ridden, permanently discontented individuals”. The book describes the manipulation of ordinary people by business interests.

Mainstreaming planned obsolescence created a growing stream of waste. Some of this is recycled in high-consuming countries, where advanced technology is available to win a few grams of gold from a pile of broken cell-phones. But 80 to 85% of electronic products are discarded in landfills or incinerators. E-waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste. This is where the Lawrence Summers’ Principle kicks in. The former lead economist for the World Bank infamously wrote (in a leaked internal memo) that “A given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost”. Approximately 80% of the annual 3 million ton of e-Waste produced in the U.S. is exported to Asia, where millions of people are dealing with severe, widespread and long lasting damages caused by this waste stream. There’s been a lot of discussion lately to call that ecocide.

On the other hand: it is equally true that the e-waste doesn’t always come from Europe or the West in general. The United Nations Environmental Program predicts that by 2017 Africa will produce more e-waste than the EU. According to a report by UNEP titled, “Recycling – from E-Waste to Resources,” the amount of e-waste being produced – including mobile phones and computers – could rise by as much as 500 percent over the next decade in countries like India. But confronting planned obsolescence at the producer side would slow down all waste streams – no matter where the products were made, sold and used.

A crash course in “designing to fail”





With the evolution of products, tricks to make them weaker have also evolved.


Hereby we present a little crash course in the fine art of designing products to fail.

Things you need:


*Glue will ensure that your business model sticks. Instead of arming products with the usual replaceable batteries, Apple glues them to the product. Battery broke? That’ll cost you around 100 dollars, takes a week and Apple will erase your phone’s memory. For iPods it’s even worse: repair costs more than buying a new one. And when some guys post a guideline online on how to do it yourself, Apple just invents its own screws to make sure that you can’t open and repair it.

*Chips. Not the potato version, the IT ones. You can hide them deep inside a printer. It will tell your naïve product users on an idle Tuesday morning that their printer, sadly, no longer works. Instead of telling us to empty or clean out the waste cartridge the printer tells us the printer needs (expensive) repair or replacement. Chips are also used to tell people that the ink has run out – even when up to 64% of the ink is still in the cartridge. Never mind that each large laser printer cartridge requires about three quarts of oil and 2.5 pounds of plastic to make.

*Soften it. Why use durable materials in sensitive places if you have something that is more likely to break? Open that washing machine, dishwasher, microwave or fridge and find the parts you can replace with softer versions. Most “smart” producers already do that.

*Incompatibility: you’re an IT-freak with a knack for making applications and games? Think of a series of games and make sure to prevent backward compatibility – as most competitors do. Same goes for software, where backward compatibility is often eliminated on purpose.

It’s not the technology, it’s the system

Planned obsolescence isn’t limited to newer kinds of technology. Even though not much changes from year to year for most core subjects, textbook publishers issue frequent updates. Trouble is, each new edition is usually printed with the information shifted to different page numbers, making it difficult to follow along in class with a previous volume. The reasons educational publishers stoop to such tactics is quite clear, though in order to maintain profits they have to make their otherwise durable product “expire” somehow. However, many student groups are now organizing to provide cheap second hand versions with simple guidelines on modified use.

Then there’s of course the absurd idea of having a new fashion at every new season. For some insights on when, where and how humanity evolved into a fashion sensitive specimen: check one of Naomi Klein’s books on this subject: No Logo. To be brief: whether it’s because of cuts, hemlines or colors, a lot of what is advertised and sold is designed to go out of style in a short time. The solution here is rather simple: don’t believe the hype and don’t become a fashion victim. The offer in second hand clothing has become much more diverse and well spread – allowing for an escape route.




Solutions are everywhere



The variety of options for failure-creators is limitless. Their enemy? Consumers like Tim Hicks. Tim fixes laptops. He used to have a website with every single laptop manual in pdf, until Toshiba’s lawyers forced Tim to remove manuals for over 300 Toshiba laptops. Keeping manuals offline ensures the only path for beleaguered customers is sending broken devices back to high-priced, only-manufacturer-authorized service centers. By making it so expensive and inconvenient to repair broken electronics, many people simply throw the devices away.

But Tim still has most manuals online and he’s not alone. A network of fixers and repair-doctors has blossomed on the internet including a Youtube video that explains how to get your printer with evil malfunction chip working again. At iFixers they’ve created a repair manifesto – with the aim of inspiring people to repair more stuff and thus become part of an eco-activist movement, with slogans to “join the revolution” and the baseline “if you can’t fix it, you don’t own it”. People are also organizing in repair cafés where volunteer do-it-yourself people enjoy repairing your objects, for free. For those understanding French, here’s a very interesting website full of solutions, made by the French ‘Friends of the Earth’. And then there’s Stefan Schridde who has carefuly build up this resourcefull website filled to the brim with information and solutions to planned obsolescence. All these initiative offer solutions for consumers.

On the producer side, things are also moving. One option is to work with take-back schemes, although this is only feasible for the big manufacturers who will then put that cost back into the price. But that doesn’t have to be a problem. In a recent Eurobarometer, 77% of 26,573 respondents said they are willing to pay more for environmentally-friendly products if they were confident that the products are truly environmentally-friendly. Another Eurobarometer showed that 27% have used sharing schemes, involving the sharing of cars or bikes or item such as a lawn mower. And 21% say that they have leased or rented a product such as a washing machine instead of buying it. The leasing sector is also broadening to ever more products. Philips, for example, is now offering Lifecycle Services Performance contracts for light bulbs.

Planned failure is a market failure


Planned obsolescence is not a conspiracy theory. It’s a business-model that has become standard in many industries as it’s a built-in feature of the growth-religion. This religion is currently busy with destroying the conditions that make life on earth enjoyable for humans. But this doesn’t mean that we’re doomed. It’s rather that their business-model is doomed and alternatives exist.

On the one hand, we need governments to tackle the issue. Most governments regulate a whole range of products, but specific attention to planned obsolescence is needed.  On October 1 the Austrian government launched a new label of excellence for durable, repair-friendly designed electrical and electronic appliances. France adopted new consumption laws on 17 March 2014, including several rules explicitly aimed to prevent planned obsolescence. On 14 October 2014 they went further, making planned obsolescence a crime that can be punished with up to 2 years in jail and a 300.000 euro penalty. You know that the EU is doing some good things under the Ecodesign Directive if even a newspaper like The Telegraph is convinced of the usefulness of the legislation on efficient and long lasting vacuum cleaners.

Regulation however is the result of a constantly evolving battle between consumer-activists on one side and corporate lobbies on the other side. You win some, but you lose many. So we need people like Tim and Michel Bauwens from the peer2peer foundation who help consumers to find ways to circumnavigate the trap by getting together either online, in repair-café’s or in whatever way they want. There is clearly a trend in this direction and for many people it’s all about bridging the information gap: the majority just doesn’t know that free support and an economy of the commons actually exists and is more accessible than thought. The mainstream media has failed to read the signs on the wall as they are too busy producing content related to the advertisements that they need.

In the capitalist economy, failure of a product has become a feature. But outside the market, people work together to fix problems with solutions that last. So the good news is that you don’t need to be that fashion victim, the consumer slave who’s frustrated at every toaster and printer suddenly breaking down. There’s a world out there with people that solve problems, bit by bit.

Is the Earth Doomed Due to Planned Obsolescence?

Man is a clever species. Technology has allowed us to advance more than any other species before us.


We sit as masters of our small blue planet.


However we are not masters when it comes to ideas that are sustainable.


With modern capitalism came the idea of planned obsolescence;


the idea that designers should build into products a self-destruct mechanism.


How did such a crazy idea come into being? What does it mean for the planet? And can we escape this circle of waste?


Where does the idea come from?


An idea is often marked with the symbol of a light bulb.


The light bulb was also the first product that was purposely designed with flaws


The ever increasing life expectancy of light bulbs frightened bulb manufactures.


It would of course stem demand. 


Demand and growth are key to our modern capitalism system.


Demand and growth are dependent on our needs or perceived needs. 


A light bulb is quite a simple product with little need for new models. 


Therefore the bulb companies formed a cartel and agreed to limit the life of bulbs to 1000 hours. 


 With this they secured the need that drove their business forward.


Today, designers purposefully limit the quality of products. 


Companies employ our best minds to create a product that fills the criteria that they demand and not what the consumer demands. 


If a printer manufacturer decides that a printer should print 20000 copies but then stop then the designer builds it to do that. 


Even if that means including a chip that records how many copies have been made and on the 20001 copy sends the error


 message that the printer has an internal error.



What does it mean for the Planet?



Would you really replace your printer every few years or you mobile phone every 6 months if it continued to work?


OK Mobiles are something of a status symbol and many people replace them for the newest model,


but boring products such as


printers, radios or cookers are less likely to replaced before they go wrong. 


The resulting waste is of course deadly for the environment.


Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing sources of waste according to the UNEP


It is also an especially dangerous form of waste as it contains many heavy metals and toxic plastics.


The rich world has found a place to put its electronic waste though: the developing world. 


They need computers too after all. 


The waste is often sent as used goods for resale however it is mostly just rubbish. 


Rubbish that is then “recycled” by the poor; recycled through burning the plastics away to get at the precious metals.


Can we escape this vicious circle of waste?


We can escape this waste and the answer is removing the incentives for planned obsolescence. 


 Taxing carbon for example, forcing companies to deal with the waste they create and setting standards.


Taxing carbon will result in companies being forced to pay more for the creation of products. 


The cost will be passed onto the consumer but the consumer will start paying more attention to how long something lasts.


Forcing companies to recycle their waste also makes them less likely to build things to break as it shifts the cost from the planet to


 the producer. Setting standards are also a very effective way to make quality products. 


Japan’s law on energy efficiency standards is a model for the world. 


The best in class become the minimum requirement for all future produced products


Planned obsolescence is only a good idea on a planet with unlimited resources and even then it is a massive waste producing


 concept. We cannot afford this policy just to encourage growth, as it results in over proportional damage to both the planet and


the consumer.

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Understanding Obsolescence

One of the main forces driving high levels of consumption and waste today is obsolescence


the process of an item or technology being replaced, outdated, or falling out of use. Obsolescence can be a spontaneous process


 by which genuinely innovative technologies win in the marketplace, or it can be planned by manufacturers through methods like


regular changes in product styles or deliberately building poor-quality items.


Spontaneous obsolescence is generally a positive process and is a byproduct of genuine innovation—classic examples include


 the automobile replacing the buggy and the computer replacing the typewriter. In contrast, it is planned obsolescence, combined


with other factors like intensive advertising and the rise in disposable income, that is responsible for much of the unnecessary


waste we produce. Examples of planned obsolescence include:


Have you ever noticed how the “in” color for home appliances is always changing?


Recently it's been stainless steel or copper, in the 1980s it was black, in the 1970s it was avocado green—


and now green refrigerators are considered “retro


Home buyers and sellers often replace their well-functioning appliances just to keep up with the style, which will change again in


 just a few years. To stimulate interest and sales, trade associations carefully research and “forecast”


which colors are going to be popular.

Or consider the latest microwaves, equipped with “must-have” electronic cook sensors. In these cases, manufacturers and


 advertisers manipulate consumer demand by promoting attributes that have little to do with an item’s real performance or utility.


In some cases, utility is even impaired because previously straightforward items are complicated with expensive and unrepairable gadgetry.

Obsolescence of durability

We’ve all sighed over a broken toaster oven or microwave: “they just don’t make them like they used to.”


Do you have a clunky ‘80s microwave in your basement? It will probably last longer than your new one.


Products today are made with cheaper materials and have shorter lifespans; it is widely believed that they often break right around


 the time the warranty expires. They’re often too poorly made to invest in a repair, and repairs can easily cost as much as a


replacement, resulting in increasing volumes of waste


Another example is the non-replaceable batteries common in small electronics. By the time the battery dies a new model will be


out, and professional battery replacements are expensive.


Apple charges exactly the same price to replace an iPod Shuffle battery as it does for a brand new iPod Shuffle.


The economical choice for the consumer is often to buy a new unit and throw out the old one, even though this wastes valuable



Obsolescence by non-compatibility

Until recently, almost every cell phone had a different plug on its charger. Laptop adapter plugs are still widely different,


even though the adapters themselves are often identical.


Every digital camera seems to need a different proprietary battery and charger. Have you ever tried to find new ink for a printer


several years old?


 Manufacturers could do much more to streamline common items and accessories like batteries, chargers, and adapters.


On a larger scale, obsolescence by non-compatibility takes place when an entire class of products is rendered non-functional,


such as the 2009 digital TV switchover that immediately made millions of TVs unable to receive signals without an additional box.


TAKE-HOME MESSAGE: Although some obsolescence is merely perceived, much of it is intentionally planned—largely in an effort to maximize consumption and profits for companies. Before consumers can take a new approach to their stuff, we need to understand what obsolescence is, how it works, and how it is often created out of thin air.


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Obsolescence of desirability

According to latest ressearch since beginning of new millenia most new product are planned   obsolescence or built-in obsolescence or deliberately made to failare with short life spam

Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design is a policy of planning or designing a product with

an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain

period of time .

The rationale behind the strategy is to generate short-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases..


Companies that pursue this strategy believe that the additional sales revenue it creates more than offsets the additional


costs of research and development and opportunity costs of existing product line cannibalization. In a competitive


industry, this is a risky strategy because when consumers catch on to this, they may decide to buy from competitors instead.

Planned obsolescence tends to work best when a producer has at least an oligopoly.Before introducing a planned

obsolescence, the producer has to know that the consumer is at least somewhat likely to buy a replacement from them.

In these cases of planned obsolescence, there is an information asymmetry between the producer – who knows how

long the product was designed to last – and the consumer, who does not. When a market becomes more competitive,

product lifespans tend to increase.

For example, when Japanese vehicles with longer lifespans entered the American market in

the 1960s and 1970s, American carmakers were forced to respond by building more durable products.


Source :

New German study finds ,Lifespan of consumer electronics is getting shorter

Find out what repairs entail before you need them?

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Investigation of planned built-in obsolescence for German environment agency finds percentage of products sold

to replace defective ones has increased remarkably,

Electronic product life spans are getting shorter, an investigation of built-in obsolescence for the German environment agency has indicated.

But consumers’ desire to replace products such as flat-screen TVs with newer model is also a major factor in what the research


 identified as increasingly wasteful consumption of electronic goods.


The environment agency asked Öko-Institut researchers to examine consumers’ reasons for replacing electrical and electronic


appliances with a view to establishing whether manufacturers are purposefully shortening product life spans to prop up sales,


a phenomenon known as built-in obsolescence.


The researchers did not draw a firm conclusion on built-in obsolescence but noted that the proportion of all units sold to replace a


defective appliance grew from 3.5% in 2004 to 8.3% in 2012, in what they deemed a “remarkable” increase.


And the share of large household appliances that had to be replaced within the first five years of use grew from 7% of total


replacements in 2004 to 13% in 2013. This too was largely due to an increase in the proportion of recently purchased appliances


replaced following a defect, which may point to an obsolescence problem.


However consumer preference is also playing a role. A third of all replacement purchases for products such as refrigerators and


washing machines were motivated by a desire for a better unit while the old one was still functioning.


Consumers are also increasingly keen to swap their flat screen televisions for better versions with larger screens and better


picture quality, even though more than 60% of replaced televisions were still functioning in 2012.


Policymakers are increasingly concerned about inefficient use of resources in resource-poor Europe, and about the environmental


 impact of this. The EU is looking to regulate product resource efficiency by including new standards such as durability and


repairability in requirements under the Ecodesign Directive, a law that is currently focused on energy efficiency for the most part.


For laptops, the desire to upgrade a functioning device seems to have lessened over the study period, the researchers said.


They could not point to clear evidence that laptops now break sooner than before but they noted that a quarter of recent


replacementswere due to a defect.


The study is the first phase of a larger research project by the German environment agency aimed at identifying ways of


increasing product life spans.

Designed to fail' electronics a global problem

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Many companies deliberately shorten product lifespans to ensure consumers continue spending.

'Built-in' or 'planned obsolescence' may be a savvy business strategy,

but it hurts consumers and people in poorer countries.

Has your printer or coffee machine died shortly after the warranty period expired?


Have you ever tried changing the constantly-tired battery of your smart phone?


Or was a replacement for your Notebook supposedly more expensive than the current, new model?


If the answer is "yes" to any of the above, you know what 'planned obsolescence' is: the process of becoming obsolete; that


is, outdated or no longer usable.


It makes good business sense for companies to create a product with a limited life span.


For the manufacturer, it means the production process is cheaper and ensures that in future the consumer will need to purchase


new products and services that the manufacturer offers as replacements for the old ones.


But the business practice has devastating consequences.


Customers are constantly forced to toss out defunct gadgets and parts, and buy new ones.


The environment suffers from an increased use of resources, and the throw-away mentality means more toxic electronic waste


 from industrialized countries piling up in the landfills of developing ones.



Electronics giants are the worst offenders



Stefan Schridde runs the German website (Bungling, no thank you) where frustrated consumers describe


their experiences with products that are designed to fail within a certain period of time.


In an interview with DW, Schridde said instances of planned obsolescence are common in electronic products. "When electricity


flows, you can do a lot," he said.


Indeed, most of the complaints on Schridde's website are about companies in the electronics, computer and telecommunications


sectors. And heavyweights, such as Epson, Brother, Philipps and Apple find the most mention.


By far the worst offender among the online complaints by November 7 was Korean electronics giant Samsung.


Schridde said most of the built-in obsolescence is seen in small and cheap parts where companies often use "plastic instead of


metal" to cut costs.


That view is echoed by economist Dominik Enste from the Cologne Institute for Economic Research.


"Companies don't always use products that are particularly durable," he said. Such practices don't just contradict the idea of


sustainability, he said, but also show that these companies don't take their social responsibilities seriously.


Schridde said that the longevity of products seems to play no role in product development.


Instead, manufacturers plow in "just enough money so that the product survives for three years.


" After that, the manufacturer's guarantee period expires and a new generation gadget is rolled out on the market, he says.


A global problem


However, the increasingly shorter life cycles, especially of electronic gadgets, do not just put a dent in consumer wallets.


They also lead to an increased demand for raw materials.


Electronic parts need metals such as gold, silver, copper and rare earths that are very expensive.


The production is energy-intensive and often takes a heavy toll on the environment


since it involves toxic materials. Obsolete appliances are often exported to developing nations where they clog up landfill sites.


In order to get to the precious metals in the electronic waste, the gadgets are often burned.


That, in turn, releases huge amounts of highly toxic fumes that are a real health hazard to people handling the waste.



'Damaging to all'


But economist Enste pointed out that companies alone aren't to blame for the surplus waste. In the end, "there's always the


consumer," he said. And many people apparently "want to always have the latest stuff. They want to keep up with trends."

Both Schridde and Enste say many consumers are driven by "cheap is cool" thinking.


The demand for cheap products leads to growing pressure on manufacturers and their supplies, Enste said.


This results in manufacturers cutting corners during the production process, for instance, by using a cheap, flimsy plastic part,


instead of a more expensive one made of metal that has a longer life.


A basic business tenet says that high demand fuels production, increased production encourages economic growth and strong


economic growth leads to more prosperity, but there needs to be more recycling and a better use of resources.





The power of the consumer


Enste, who also heads the "Academy for Economics with Integrity," is "optimistic that we can change some things."


The market economy doesn't only make possible a system that in the case of planned obsolescence, creates global problems.


It also has an antidote to it – the power of the customer. Every consumer can "buy products which he thinks suit him best."


Enste said sustainability must play a bigger role when it comes to opting for a product. That includes information about the


production conditions, energy consumption and the recycling of products


Equipped with this information, the customer can then make a qualified decision about "whether he prefers to buy two products in


five years or one that lasts for five years," Enste said.





10 Ways Products Are Designed To Fail


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.


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.


Selling a phone to a single customer every 18 months is more profitable than only selling him one every ten years.


Therefore, producers are interested in shortening the time between sales.


The process of becoming out of use, discarded, obsolete is called obsolescence.


To sell more, producers are interested in speeding up this process. It gets nastier:


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


Planned obsolescence happens where engineering meets capitalism.


Products aren’t designed to last; they’re designed for the dump.


In this situation, engineers don’t aim to create the best possible machine.


They aim for maximum profit through steady sales.




10 Ways Products Are Designed To Fail

Read More At Source:


Elias Chaves April 2, 2013


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.


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.


 Selling a phone to a single customer every 18 months is more profitable than only selling him one every ten years.


 Therefore, producers are interested in shortening the time between sales.


The process of becoming out of use, discarded, obsolete is called obsolescence.


To sell more, producers are interested in speeding up this process.


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



Planned obsolescence happens where engineering meets capitalism.


Products aren’t designed to last; they’re designed for the dump.


In this situation, engineers don’t aim to create the best possible machine. They aim for maximum profit through steady sales.

1-Warranty procedure

The receipt is the most important element in case of a malfunction. Without it, your defective gadget is most likely e-waste.

One must keep the receipt and find it when needed.

Even with a valid receipt it is time-consuming and bothersome to get to the store to claim the warranty.

Sending it to the manufacturer covering postage out of their own pocket is even more unpleasant.

Ultimately, repair may take up to 4 weeks.

2-Popularity / Style Obsolescence

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

The customer who doesn’t want to be unpopular will buy a stylish new gadget.

That’s because, unlike hipsters, having popular gadgets will make a customer feel popular.


The new thing doesn’t work with the old thing. I’ll replace the old thing! Marketers expect that kind of customer reaction when incompatibility is used.


Incompatibilities open a variety of sales opportunities like adapters, upgrades or full replacements. They make your life harder.


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.




Heat is an enemy of electronics. The more the hardware is exposed to it, the faster it degrades.


An example of planned obsolescence in product design is the placement of heat-sensitive capacitors in the hottest area on a


circuit board, next to the heat sink.


So basically, the worthiest of protection is put in the danger zone. These devices will fail sooner than others which are better designed.


5-Wear and tear


Our valued gadgets will never look as good as when they came out of the box. Over time, scratches appear, colors fade,


abrasions occur, plating falls off… sooner or later they’re worn-out.


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. Not including protective cases also helps the process.

6-Planned Life span

Some gadgets have a preset life time. When the time’s up, they’re out of use.


The digital wine thermometer I bought my father for Christmas has a built-in battery that can’t be replaced.


According to the manual, the battery is good for about 2000 hours.


The manual did not explicitly instruct the user to trash the device once the battery has died—but that’s implied.


When the life span has expired, my father will waste a fully functional product. That’s great news for the wine thermometer industry.

7-Omitted features

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

Many customers will upgrade to the succeeding gadget with slightly better features once it is introduced.

This is a very good example: the first iPhone didn’t support 3G internet bandwidth,
MMS, universal Bluetooth, not even video

recording, all of which were considered to be standard features.

Customers stormed the stores when the iPhone 3G came out: It had all that! But the poor 2 megapixel camera resolution

remained the same.

8-Massive repair costs

Repair costs of electronics are so high that often it isn’t worth getting them repaired.

The best option is replacement. Repair companies also generally charge fees for cost estimates.

That adds to the notion that customers don’t even consider repairing their electronic gadgets.

You can try to repair the gadget yourself, however, many consumer electronics nowadays are very difficult to service, more difficultthan a decade ago.


Some gadgets have tamper-proof screws that require special screwdrivers just to open them, which add to the repair costs.


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

9-Unavailable spare parts

Imagine that after serving you a long time, a minor but crucial part of your (insert defective device) has broken, but the rest of the


device works fine.

The customer service kindly tells you that the required spare part isn’t available anymore and that the service for that device has been discontinued. What can you do? Buy a new one!

The producer generally makes more profit selling new devices than spare parts.

Producers have found a solution to this dilemma: totally overprice spare parts.


10-Broken display glass


Mobile phones fall down easily. But broken display glass and all damages from improper handling are not covered by the

manufacturer’s warranty.
The dropper is reminded of his clumsiness every time he looks at the display (often the screen still works and only the glass is damaged).
Manufacturers also use glass on the backside of their phones, doubling the chances of fracture.

The backside of the iPhone 4 series or more recently of the LG Nexus 4 could have been made out of a break-proof material.

A consumer will replace his gadget much sooner when the glass is broken than when it’s not.

Products Made to Fail and Break

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They just don’t make things like they used to – intentionally! If products lasted for years, then we wouldn’t have to replace them and manufacturers wouldn’t make as much money. Thus, starting in the 1950s and 1960s, manufacturers consciously decided to make products that were designed to fail and break.If you haven’t heard of this conspiracy to rip your hard-earned dollars out of your pocket over and over again, that may bebecause business gave it a fancy name. The term “Planned Obsolescence” refers to the practice of intentionally designing goods


 to fail and break after a set time period of “acceptable life” once purchased.


Instead of being dismissed as a lousy idea and a way to cheat consumers, is it any surprise that it was embraced by businesses


 everywhere? You’ll see it most often in the following products:



Printer Inks: 


The amount of ink left in your printer is measured by a microchip, which shuts off printing when levels are below a certain amount.


 Not when the ink is gone – just when it’s below where manufacturers want it. And God help you if you want to print black and


white when the cyan or yellow are low – it’s not allowed! Manufacturers make more money from ink purchases than from the


printers themselves, so they installed the microchips to keep the revenues flowing.





The new model year is barely different from the previous year, but every year car makers rush something new to the market.


As a result, it is increasingly difficult to find older car parts.


Manufacturers don’t want to provide spare parts – they want you to buy a new car.


Thank goodness the Internet helps you fight back by letting you source parts from all over the country and even the world –


 otherwise your local dealer would have you right where he wants you when your current car breaks down.



Consumer Electronics: 


Apple once got sued for designing its batteries to fail just after the warranty expired.


They don’t do that anymore, but the market


as a whole seems intent on making your computer, laptop, cell phone, and mp3 player obsolete as soon as possible. Batteries die


, operating systems won’t support new programs, and replacement parts for “vintage” electronics stop being manufactured.


 But “new and improved” often isn’t any better – the new smart phones are notoriously bad at actually making phone calls, just to


give one example. It’s better to try and patch your old system for as long as you can!




Clothing doesn’t hold together like it once did thanks to the rise of “fast fashion” retailing.


Basically, the idea is to find the new hot look and get it into stores as fast as possible using the cheapest materials and labor




The item is made to last as long as the fad – and no longer. Ripped seams, pulled threads, disappearing buttons, and


worn-through fibers are all hallmarks of this trend.


Being handy with a needle is one way to fight back, and so is buying vintage clothing – the old stuff was made with care and


designed to last a lot longer!





The original nylon was used for parachutes by the military in WWII.


Try to imagine jumping out of a plane armed only with a few pairs of LEGGS or Hanes hosiery sewn together.


The original pantyhose and nylon makers quickly figured out that hose that lasted forever wasn’t profitable – so they made it


 weaker and more easily torn to keep the sales flowing.


There are so many more products out there designed to wear out and break down. With effort, you can avoid them or work around


 their flaws, but it’s no joke that manufacturers are after your wallet.


What tricks have you found to outsmart them and their made-to-break goods?


Planned Obsolescence: 8 Products Designed to Fail

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Designed to fail: planned obsolescence in every day used product


Manufacturers' planned obsolescence costs to consumers and the environment.


Learn more at source @


Learn more at :

Planned obsolescence is when a product is deliberately designed to have a specific life span.

This is usually a shortened life span. The product is designed to last long enough to develop a customer’s lasting need.

The product is also designed to convince the customer that the product is a quality product, even though it eventually needs

replacing. In this way, when the product fails, the customer will want to buy another, up to date version.

Take for example a washing machine. Planned obsolescence means that the washing machine (seen opposite) is designed to last

about two years, before it breaks down outside the guarantee time.

Most of the components / parts have been manufactured from quality materials with the exception of some vital parts.

Two years after purchase, the washing machine will only need minor inexpensive repairs.

However, between 4 to 5 years the vitals parts begin to wear out and a replacement machine is required.

For planned obsolescence to work, the customer must feel that he/she has had value for money.

Furthermore, he/she must have enough confidence in the manufacturer/company, to replace the original washing machine with

the modern equivalent machine, from the same manufacturer.

Planned obsolescence is sometimes designed into a product, in order to encourage the customer to buy the next upgrade.

A good example of this is a mobile phone.

Mobile phones are often designed with only current technology in mind, despite the manufacturers knowledge of future

technological developments.

For instance, a mobile phone may have
USB / connections / jack plugs, that fit current products, such as head phones and


This means that the phone is not future proof.

The manufacturer may already be working on updated phones, that connect using different sizes of
USB ports / connections.

Although the current phone can be upgraded with software, eventually the ‘old’
USB / connections / jack plugs will make the

product obsolete.

The customer will need a new phone, even though there may be nothing wrong with his / her existing phone.

The old phone becomes obsolete.

Designers following the philosophy of ‘Built In Obsolescence’, ask themselves, ‘how can a product be designed so that it breaks

down quite quickly, but it still leaves customer confidence in the product and manufacturer intact’.

Planned obsolescence can be regarded as bad for the environment, because it leads to products being ‘dumped’ by customers,

so that new updated products can be acquired. The quandary that good designers face, is to design desirable products, with

components / parts that can be recycle or reused, when the product is thrown away, by fashion/style conscious consumers.

Planned obsolescence is sometimes deliberately and openly built into products for safety reasons.

Sell by dates and use by dates on foods, are a guide to both the retailer and customer, highlighting when a food product is safe to

eat and at its best.

Further examples are disposable cutlery and soft drinks bottles, which are manufactured cheaply and designed to be used once /

twice. These products are sometimes manufactured from biodegradable polylactide (
PLA), which can be thrown away and yet is

safe for the environment.

Got appliance woes? You’re not alone!

So how can you avoid getting burned by a big purchase?

Buy manual anolog model  over digital electronic, where possible !

Don't believe in reviews as most are written by paid to write companies and web sites






Got appliance woes? You’re not alone!

So how can you avoid getting burned by a big purchase?

Buy manual anolog model  over digital electronic, where possible !

Source :

20 Sites To Get Paid For Writing And Blogging

You can choose to write about how-to’s, reviews,

tech, serious’ pieces or offer your writing services for hire.

Don't get fooled by flashy looks and look beyond flashy design

Don't believe in reviews as most are written by paid to write companies and web sites

Our Simple Shopping Principal  For New Appliances and Electronics According to Our 30 Years Experience

Principals :

Repair your old appliances as much as you could

Buy cheapest one!

Buy most basic one with least options!

Buy them on the sale!

Don't expect more than couple of years from them as they won't last long

Expect unexpected as you won't get disappointed

When you want get new appliances you shold ask yourself  where I could get important information and

who I could trust to give me honest answer!

Questions such as :

Who to buy from?

What to buy ?

Where to buy ?

When to buy ?

Why to buy ?

How Manufacturers Get You To Buy New Appliances

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On the left, a wall of washing machines and stoves. On the right, a man is taking apart a vacuum cleaner, another a food




A little further away, an employee looking through a powerful magnifying glass pokes at a telephone with tweezers.


In the background, a television set without its shell is broadcasting a reality show.


"La Bonne Combine" [The Good Deal] in Prilly, in the province of Vaud, is the appliance-repair Mecca of French-speaking


Switzerland. "Look at this," says Felice Suglia, bringing over a circuit board.


"This is the heart of a television set. The condensers are soldered right next to a heat sink connected to the transistors.


The condensers are sensitive to heat. Why did Samsung put them here, even though there is room at the other end of the board?"


the repairman asks.


This simple question is one of many about the reliability of appliances and electronic devices.


More and more of them seem to be manufactured with planned obsolescence in mind — this is something that is often suspected,


 but rarely proven.


Electronics and appliance manufacturers are accused of deliberately shortening the lifespan of their products in order to force


consumers to purchase new ones sooner. "It is impossible to be sure, but we often have strong suspicions," says Christopher


Inaebnit, who runs La Bonne Combine. "Look at the latest washing machines.


Big-name companies set the ball bearings into the drum. Because new drums are so costly, that makes it almost impossible to


replace the bearings when they're worn out."

Read more:

Idea  Planned obsolescence

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Mar 23rd 2009 | Online extra

Planned obsolescence is a business strategy in which the obsolescence (the process of becoming obsolete—that


 is, unfashionable or no longer usable) of a product is planned and built into it from its conception. This is done so


 that in future the consumer feels a need to purchase new products and services that the manufacturer brings out


 as replacements for the old ones.


Consumers sometimes see planned obsolescence as a sinister plot by manufacturers to fleece them.


But Philip Kotler, a marketing guru (see article), says: “Much so-called planned obsolescence is the working of the


competitive and technological forces in a free society—forces that lead to ever-improving goods and services.”


A classic case of planned obsolescence was the nylon stocking. The inevitable “laddering” of stockings made


consumers buy new ones and for years discouraged manufacturers from looking for a fibre that did not ladder.


The garment industry in any case is not inclined to such innovation. Fashion of any sort is, by definition, deeply


committed to built-in obsolescence. Last year's skirts, for example, are designed to be replaced by this year's


new models.



The strategy of planned obsolescence is common in the computer industry too.


New software is often carefully calculated to reduce the value to consumers of the previous version.


This is achieved by making programs upwardly compatible only; in other words, the new versions can read all the


 files of the old versions, but not the other way round.


Someone holding the old version can communicate only with others using the old version.


It is as if every generation of children came into the world speaking a completely different language from their




While they could understand their parents' language, their parents could not understand theirs.


The production processes required for such a strategy are illustrated by Intel.


This American semiconductor firm is working on the production of the next generation of PC chips before it has


 begun to market the last one.



A strategy of planned obsolescence can backfire.


If a manufacturer produces new products to replace old ones too often, consumer resistance may set in.


 This has occurred at times in the computer industry when consumers have been unconvinced that a new wave of


 replacement products is giving sufficient extra value for switching to be worth their while.


As the life cycle of products has increased—largely because of their greater technical excellence—firms have


found that they need to plan for those products' obsolescence more carefully. Take, for instance, the example of


the automobile. Its greater durability has made consumers reluctant to change their models as frequently as they


 used to.


As the useful life of the car has been extended, manufacturers have focused on shortening its fashionable life.



By adding styling and cosmetic changes to their vehicles, they have subtly attempted to make their older models


 look outdated, thus persuading consumers to trade them in for new ones.


Planned obsolescence is obviously not a strategy for the luxury car market.


Marques such as Rolls-Royce rely on propagating the idea that they may (like antiques) one day be worth more


than the price that was first paid for them; Patek Philippe advertises its watches as being something that the


owner merely conserves for the next generation.


At the same time as the useful life of consumer goods becomes shorter, consumers hanker after goods that