Why do printers fail after printing so many pages and why is buying a new one easier and less expensive than repairing it?
Why does clothing wear out after so many washings?
Why do nylon stockings get runs in them after wearing them only once or twice?
Why is it that as soon as we’ve paid off a major appliance or car, it needs to be repaired?
This is called “Planned Obsolescence” and it all started with the lightbulb
Planned obsolescence or built-in obsolescence in industrial design is a policy of planning or designing a product with a limited useful life, so it will become obsolete, that is, unfashionable or no longer functional after a certain period of time.Planned obsolescence has potential benefits for a producer because to obtain continuing use of the product the consumer is under pressure to purchase again, whether from the same manufacturer (a replacement part or a newer model), or from a competitor which might also rely on planned obsolescence.
For an industry, planned obsolescence stimulates demand by encouraging purchasers to buy sooner if they still want a functioning product. Built-in obsolescence is used in many different products. There is, however, the potential backlash of consumers who learn that the manufacturer invested money to make the product obsolete faster; such consumers might turn to a producer (if any exists) that offers a more durable alternative.
Estimates of planned obsolescence can influence a company’s decisions about product engineering. Therefore the company can use the least expensive components that satisfy product lifetime projections. Such decisions are part of a broader discipline known as value engineering.(Wikipedia)