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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.This is part of the acclaimed ’Cash Investigations - Underhand Tactics: Investigating Corporate Tactics’ series. Other episodes include ’Neuromarketing’, ‘Green’ marketing, ’Sugar overload’, ’Tax havens’, ’High-frequency trading’, ’Toxic Labels’ and ’disease branding’.
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