Designed to break

Are products nowadays designed to break as soon as the warranty is up? It’s the last place I’d expect precision engineering to be applied, but the trends make me wonder.

It happend to me twice, first my laptop(Dell) and then my digital camera(Canon). And given how dear they were to me, they surely didn’t break because of negligence. I somehow managed to rescue my laptop, but the digicam just refuses to work! Sending out for repairs is out of question given the prohibitive costs; behold planned obsolescence:

The design of most consumer products includes an expected average lifetime permeating all stages of development. For instance, no auto-parts maker would run the extra cost of ensuring a part lasts for forty years if few cars spend more than five years on the road. Thus, it must be decided early in the design of a complex product how long it is designed to last so that each component can be made to those specifications.
Planned obsolescence is made more likely by making the cost of repairs comparable to the replacement cost, or by actually refusing to provide service or parts any longer. A product might even never have been serviceable. Wikipedia

This sucks! Have you or your friends come across a similar situation?

The iPod hasn’t been spared either 😐

Also worth reading: Is planned obsolescence socially responsible? – New Engineer