Planned Obsolescence: What you Need to Know

by | Jan 22, 2018 | Useful Tech Tips | 0 comments

Recently, Apple users have accused the tech giant of slowing down its older iPhones in hopes of people buying newer ones.  You may have heard about this via angry clients wanting to file law suits, or just suspected it yourself.

This is a practice has come to be known as “planned obsolescence” and top brands are using it to stimulate a demand for new products.  In Apple’s official response, they claim they used an algorithm to limit processor operating stress on older phones to combat a problem that caused unexpected shutdowns.  This may be what Apple claims, but critics say the brand is admitting planned obsolescence.

Users were not content with Apple’s response and responded by filing two lawsuits against the company.  Users claimed that the phones seemed to slow down right around the release dates of newer version of the iPhone.

While the Apple lawsuit only involved users in the United States, consumers around the world are wising up to planned obsolescence. Recently, people in France filed a lawsuit against Brother, HP, Epson, and Canon. There is a three-year-old law on the books in France that fines manufacturers that fail to disclose the lifespan of their products to customers. Known as the “Hamon Law,” it’s the first law passed by a country that creates preventive measures against planned obsolescence. This lawsuit marks the only time thus far the legislation has been put to the test to see if manufacturers really will be held accountable.

Planned obsolescence is clearly on the minds of the public and you may encounter an increase in the amount of clients who want to take legal action against suspected incidences of planned obsolescence.   It would be beneficial to you to counsel your clients that achieving a positive outcome for this kind of case is not easy.  For example, in Apple’s response to allegations, the company asserted what some people saw as an admittance of planned obsolescence was a tech tweak to make older phones perform better.

Keeping up to date on planned obsolescence case decisions will help you to determine the best game plan for your clients when needed. Additionally, because the issue of planned obsolescence could potentially affect some of the main products you buy for your firm, maintaining an awareness of it could help you to become a more informed consumer.


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