Losing Software Functionality By Updating

Companies will often strongly encourage the user or consumer to regularly update their software or operating system on a computer or mobile device, and this is often combined with promises of better performance.

However, updating software or an operating system often causes a LOSS of FUNCTIONALITY, and sometimes these functions are critically essential to how they are used.

First, one should note that versions of operating systems and software are not always compatible. By updating either your operating system or your software, the software may cease to work properly or at all.

Project files for a given type of software done in an earlier version may not be accessible or changeable using the newer version of the software. Sometimes software companies will include features to update older projects to be compatible with the newer software versions, as seen with Adobe Premiere, but this feature doesn’t always work well, even altogether corrupting the original project or creating an unstable modified version. (Make a backup copy first if you do this!)

An important feature in a software version may be removed in the newer version, and this may render the software application useless. Well over a decade ago, I first experienced this when MusicMatch Jukebox removed the ability to record new WAV files from an input line, which was an important step in getting original recorded music from analog tape to digital for creation of albums for release. As a result, I ultimately stopped using MusicMatch for file management as well. MusicMatch, acquired by Yahoo, would soon go bankrupt, perhaps due in no small part to changes like this. Audacity and iTunes soon took over…

Apple, in particular, likes to remove features from its hardware, particularly when it comes to connections. This results in you having to buy an assortment of adaptors to achieve the same processes you have used with older models. Many abandoned a recent line of MacBook Pro laptops because of the removal of such hardware connection options. Why pay more for less?

It is a mistake to design software applications to only be compatible with a recent operating system version or later. Most people intend to have their computers for well over 2 years, so only being compatible with an Operating System release from 2 years ago is not realistically accessible. If there must be a cut-off point, perhaps 10 years is more reasonable from a user standpoint…

Ultimately, software and online services need to be created to be compatible at the lowest common denominator. This is especially essential for true “plug and play” functionality and when it comes to collaboration. Due to the aforementioned reasons, many will choose not to have the latest versions because updating will make their current systems and files useless. Especially for creative and media people, who have ongoing projects and want to be able to access their old projects, updating is usually a mistake. It often makes more sense to buy a whole new separate system, and pricing often makes that unrealistic.

Develop your software and services to be VERY backwards-compatible, and aim to accommodate the lowest common denominator.

Sometimes it is better not to allow yourself to be nudged into adopting the latest version of a software application or operating system. I’d like to hear if you have any similar examples of these Tech Fail Phenomena! Please feel free to leave a comment, like&share, and maybe we can get some of these companies to shape up! Thanks for watching.