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View Full Version : EU outlaws planned obsolescence



Maciamo
21-08-18, 11:43
This is big, but oddly enough it hasn't made the headlines of mainstream media yet. This is great news for consumers, but not for manufacturers.

EU outlaws planned obsolescence (https://fudzilla.com/news/46993-eu-outlaws-planned-obsolescence)

"In a move which will have Apple clutching its bottom line in fear, the EU has decided to outlaw planned obsolescence and insist that all products must be fixable.

The European Parliament accepted a resolution to lengthen consumer goods and software's longevity, a counter to the alleged planned obsolescence process built into a lot of products.

The European Parliament now wants the European Commission to create a clear definition of the term "planned obsolescence" and to develop a system to track that aging process. It also wants longer warranty periods and criteria to measure a product's strength. Every device should also have a mention of its minimal life expectancy.

Devices should also be easier to repair: batteries and other components should be freely accessible for replacement, unless safety dictates otherwise."

Angela
21-08-18, 22:09
I think the end of planned obsolescence would also have an impact on workers, however. What happens to all the jobs in factories making the new products?

Stuvanè
22-08-18, 12:00
I think the end of planned obsolescence would also have an impact on workers, however. What happens to all the jobs in factories making the new products?

If this law will be implemented effectively, probably many companies - especially those of the latest generation - will have to partially restructure and return to repair services and assistance centers located in a more widespread manner, with trained and competent technicians ready to set up the equipment failure (and without having to wait too long for any spare parts). It will then be necessary to see how much these companies are willing to charge the client with reasonable prices (because in the end this is the real problem).

Angela
22-08-18, 19:57
If this law will be implemented effectively, probably many companies - especially those of the latest generation - will have to partially restructure and return to repair services and assistance centers located in a more widespread manner, with trained and competent technicians ready to set up the equipment failure (and without having to wait too long for any spare parts). It will then be necessary to see how much these companies are willing to charge the client with reasonable prices (because in the end this is the real problem).

It would require some statistical analysis to see how much the restructuring would cost, how many workmen would be required under either scenario, how much could be charged for repair, and how that would impact employment numbers versus the current system, as well as if any company could still turn a profit.

It's all very well and good for politicians to make nice sounding pronouncements, but business is a business. No profit, no company, and everyone is out of a job.

The response here is usually, well, that keeps somebody working in a factory.

Maciamo
23-08-18, 14:18
I think the end of planned obsolescence would also have an impact on workers, however. What happens to all the jobs in factories making the new products?

Planned obsolescence affects mostly electronic products and these are mostly manufactured in East Asia, particularly China (including American brands like Apple), so the impact on jobs in Western countries will be minimal. It's really hard to keep a smartphone for over 3 years these days without getting into all kinds of problems.

As Stuvanè said, repairing more electronic products will create jobs in repair centres, and these are local jobs, not factories in China. So the measure might in fact create more jobs in Western countries than it destroys.

I have heard of planned obsolescence for homes appliances too, but as far as I can tell from experience it isn't a big deal. My fridge, freezer, oven, stove, washing machine, tumble dryer, coffee machine, and so on have all lasted for over 10 years without any issue. At one point some products like tumble dryer need to be replaced by newer, more energy-efficient models just to save money on the electricity consumption, even if they still work.

Angela
23-08-18, 17:22
Planned obsolescence affects mostly electronic products and these are mostly manufactured in East Asia, particularly China (including American brands like Apple), so the impact on jobs in Western countries will be minimal. It's really hard to keep a smartphone for over 3 years these days without getting into all kinds of problems.

As Stuvanè said, repairing more electronic products will create jobs in repair centres, and these are local jobs, not factories in China. So the measure might in fact create more jobs in Western countries than it destroys.

I have heard of planned obsolescence for homes appliances too, but as far as I can tell from experience it isn't a big deal. My fridge, freezer, oven, stove, washing machine, tumble dryer, coffee machine, and so on have all lasted for over 10 years without any issue. At one point some products like tumble dryer need to be replaced by newer, more energy-efficient models just to save money on the electricity consumption, even if they still work.

My appliances do last for a long time, but I ran into a problem with my sub zero refrigerator ultimately. When it broke down they told me they had stopped manufacturing the replacement parts. I still had a paid up repair contract, so although they kicked and screamed I made them replace the whole refrigerator. Of course, it was a different, new model and I wound up having to pay for some carpentry to get it to fit, but at least not a new refrigerator on top of it.

I1a3_Young
24-08-18, 00:34
Remember this is probably spurred in part by the revelations about Apple purposefully slowing down older models for no reason but to encourage the owner to purchase another Apple product.

A four year old iPhone would have still been working in good order if they had not been purposefully slowing it down. I don't own an iPhone but I was angry when I became aware of this.