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Strategies to the Prediction, Mitigation and Management of Product Obsolescence by Michael G. Pecht, Peter Sandborn, Ulrich Ermel, Bjoern Bartels

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Chapter 6

Software Obsolescence

Today there are a growing number of methodologies, databases, and tools that address status, forecasting, risk, mitigation, and management of electronic parts obsolescence (Sandborn et al., 2003). However, the one common attribute of all the methodologies, databases, and tools that are available today is that they focus almost exclusively on the hardware life cycle. In most complex systems, software life cycle costs (redesign, re-hosting, and requalification) contribute as much or more to the total life cycle cost as does the hardware, and the hardware and software must be concurrently sustained.

Software obsolescence (more specifically, COTS, commercial off-the-shelf software obsolescence) is generally due to the following causes:

1. Technological Obsolescence1: The sales and support for the software terminate.

  • The original supplier no longer sells the software as new (end-of-sale)
  • The inability to expand or renew licensing agreements (legally unprocurable)
  • Software maintenance terminates—the original supplier or third parties no longer support the software (end-of-support)

2. Functional Obsolescence: The changes in either hardware or software result in an incompatibility.

  • Changes in minimum hardware requirements cause the existing hardware to be obsolete (software-driven hardware obsolescence)
  • Changes in hardware result in an incompatibility with the software (hardware-driven software obsolescence)

3. Logistical Obsolescence: The ability ...

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