Planned Obsolescence, as Myth or Reality – NYTimes.com
it’s actually very hard to infer a company’s motives for designing a feature a certain way, and whether that decision was intended to hasten degradation of older products, as some insist that the famously secretive Apple is doing.
In a notable paper from 1986, Jeremy Bulow asserted that a monopolist not threatened by entry would have an incentive to produce goods with “inefficiently short useful lives.” But if consumers have the option to switch to good substitutes — as arguably they do now in the smartphone market — the incentives could run in the opposite direction. Your company might capture a larger share of the market if consumers believe your products are more durable. …