We no longer have the products?

Cemetery representing a planned obsolescence – Getty

He couldn’t believe it. Professor Mark Tabern expressed his regret on Twitter Before an unusual event: his wife’s Epson printer stopped working, but not before an on-screen statement left the owners frozen. It has reached the end of its life cycle, accompanied by instructions on how to “revive” it, and of course payment.

And so, without anesthesia, this professor was discovering the most obvious (and bitter) face of planned obsolescence: your organs will last for a while, and then they will die. Epson’s plan (in its defense, it must be said that this is a sectoral strategy) is very profitable: the customer either pays for reactivation, or pays for a new printer for the home.

We no longer have the products?

The argument Epson found to announce to its owner that its printer has become a paperweight indicates ink spillage. What exactly does it consist of? These are pads that collect excess ink in the printing process and must be replaced after a certain number of uses.

This “evil” will affect a large number of printers from the past five years up to this segment, and in fact, the manufacturer itself has an application that allows you to reset this error and bring the printer back to life, as soon as the pads are replaced.

However, one of this professor’s Twitter followers focused on what should really matter to us: “What a time we were product owners”, Wrote, with great success. What was he referring to?

Close-up of a female hand using a computer printer

A person operating a printer – Getty Images

You’ll see it on your mobile phone: The app you bought years ago and thought was yours has received an update that turns it into a subscription model for which you have to pay monthly or annually.

The single-selling business model seems doomed to disappear and even cars have subscriptions to use certain functions. And this is where planned obsolescence plays a major role in the printer market.

The printer, as such, is nothing more than the key to accessing a hidden subscription: ink cartridges. You will surely have been shocked at how cheap printer hardware is in terms of cartridges. And that’s for a reason: manufacturers earn more, in the medium or long term, from selling consumables than from hardware.

Is this a mistake? not necessarily. This subscription-based model ensures business continuity over time, and the customer will benefit from it by making improvements to their products or launching new models.

So what’s the problem? The problem we found is that these declared “deaths” weren’t really: One fine day, you turn on the printer and discover that it has stopped working. There is no advance notice that prepares the customer to proceed with the checkout, since that part of the premise, is now really wrong: that he is the product owner. It is no longer and never will be.

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