The ‘bait and switch’ of an ‘upgrade’?

The term ‘upgrade’ is thought to ‘improve or step-up the performance or parts of an experience’. Take the experience of flying, as an example. It would trigger outrage to be told that you have qualified for an ‘upgrade’ only to learn that your experience is deteriorated.

How many of us have been invited to ‘upgrade’ our licensed software with an internet service or product provider only to find that it was not an upgrade but instead triggered a reduction or elimination of privileges or access? The number is long of companies who do that. Not just once but repeatedly…. iTunes, Amazon… name just two.

TechDirt has a good analysis here of the most recent which Sony is rolling out for the PlayStation 3, including a backstory on EFF’s participation and comment.

“It used to be when you bought a product, you owned it. Simple, right? And once you owned it, you could do what you want with it? But, lately, thanks to digital products and an always connected world, many companies have changed things around — so the products you thought you owned, you actually rent. But, it can go even further than that, where a product you thought you owned can be irrevocably changed without your permission, long after you bought it. Take, for example, the recent story of Sony deleting a feature on the PS3 that let users (not owners, apparently) install other operating systems, such as Linux. It’s going away. Sony announced that when the next PS3 firmware upgrade comes along, it’ll wipe out this feature, whether you used it or not. The only way to avoid that is not to upgrade, but that will also greatly limit what you can do with your PS3.”



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