Underhand Tactics: Planned Obsolescence

A film by Anna Salzberg and Wandrille Lanos
First broadcast June 1, 2012

Are companies like Apple and Samsung designing expensive electronic products, built to fail? Every year, shinier, slicker new models are released to encourage us to upgrade. But it’s not enough just to persuade consumers to buy more and more: they have to be forced to upgrade. From the iPod and iPhone, designed with an integrated battery that cannot be changed by the user, to Samsung TVs built to burn out after three years, manufacturers are doing everything they can to limit their products’ lifespan. Older versions not only last longer, in many cases, they performed better. Picture quality on the old cathode ray TVs was higher than on the new LCDs. We investigate how big brands like Apple ruthlessly use programmed obsolescence to increase their profits. Not only at consumers’ expense but also causing environmental disasters.


PREVIOUS BROADCASTS INCLUDE FRANCE 2, VTM (Belgium), YLE (Finland), FMG, ORF III (Austria), SIC (Portugal), NRK (Norway), DR (Denmark), SPIEGEL (Germany) AND NKS (Russia)