Obsolescence is the point when something is no longer found useful but is still in good working order. Over the years, many audio formats have become either technically or functionally obsolete.
Technical or functional obsolescence may occur:
When a new, more functional product gains popularity (i.e.: cassette Walkman vs. iPod).
When maintenance is more expensive than replacement.
When cheap materials shorten the product's lifespan (see “Planned Obsolescence” below).
When parts are no longer available for making repairs.
Differences between technical and functional obsolescence
Technical obsolescence is when a product is no longer technically superior to other, similar products. For example, computers are introduced every year that are faster and more efficient than last year’s models. Note: this does not mean the older products are functionally obsolete.
Functional obsolescence occurs when a product no longer functions as it did when first purchased. For example, computer hardware/software’s compatibility issues often lead to obsolescence. As new systems are introduced, they may support “legacy” systems for only a short window of time.
A company may deliberately introduce obsolescence into their products in order to persuade customers to buy replacement products more frequently. For example, inexpensive appliances or cars often wear out faster than more expensive models. The company increases revenue either from selling the expensive models or through repeated sales of inexpensive ones.