Why Software and Hardware becomes Obsolete

technological obsolescence_Now IT Connects_Clearwater Minnesota

Bill Gates once said that “the only big companies that succeed will be those that obsolete their own products before someone else does.” Technology companies are constantly innovating to better serve their clients. This applies to hardware, such as computers, tablets, and other devices, as well as software and even file types.

While it can be difficult to keep up with these changes, technology obsolescence is necessary. Our smartphones have more computing power than the systems that sent astronauts to the moon decades ago. Without innovation and obsolescence, our devices would fit in ROOMS, not our pockets.

There are three ways IT can become obsolete. A piece of hardware or software may no longer be supported. That’s technological obsolescence. Or, a piece of software or hardware may not work on your current computer (think floppy disks). That’s functional obsolescence. Other times, a file format is no longer readable by software. That’s logistical obsolescence.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the ways technology becomes obsolete.

1. Technological Obsolescence

Technological obsolescence occurs when a product reaches end-of-sale or end-of support. In these cases, more advanced technology is available, so the older version is going away. This is happening with the Windows 7 operating system on January 14, 2020. If you’re still running Windows 7, talk to us!

If a piece of tech or software has reached its end-of-sale, it means the manufacturer no longer sells that hardware or software. Products reach end-of-sale long before they reach end-of-support. Windows 7 has not been on the market since October 2014, but it will still be supported through January 14, 2020.

End-of support and maintenance simply means the company no longer supports or updates a piece of hardware or software. While the technology may still work, it is no longer protected by security updates or maintained to ensure it functions smoothly. Using technology that’s reached its end-of-support date is risky. You could lose customer data, access to important software, or be hacked.

2. Functional Obsolescence

Have a few floppy disks lying around? Maybe an ancient computer with a ZIP drive? Perhaps inventory software that’s still DOS-based? If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, you’re familiar with functional obsolescence. Modern computer towers don’t have floppy or ZIP drives. Many don’t include CD drives, either. Hardware and software reach functional obsolescence when they can no longer be used with current hardware or software.

3. Logistical Obsolescence

Logistical obsolescence occurs when changes to digital files and formats make it impossible to access those files. Remember Lotus 1-2-3? It was a spreadsheet program before Excel became dominant in the market. Lotus is long gone, which makes it impossible to open .wks files (unless you have access to old technology). The same is true for countless software brands that have been lost to history.

Wondering if you have obsolete technology in your office? Contact Now IT Connects. We can audit your hardware and software and make recommendations for updates and upgrades where necessary.