March 2010 Issue
Product Support: There’s a Limit
Should we be steamed when companies stop supporting our 20-year-old headsets and radios? Yes, but to expect anything different is unrealistic.
The term "product support" means different things to different people. For example, someone in the market to buy a new aircraft may worry about whether the local FBO has personnel trained to maintain it. Meanwhile, a renter pilot buying a new headset wonders what will happen if an earcup cracks five years from now. Both pilots may also be in the market for a handheld GPS: Will database updates for it still be available in a few years? Perhaps because of the relatively high prices we pay for these and other products, there’s often the expectation of manufacturers supporting them forever. And Jeppesen should continue offering custom database updates long after the memory space required outstrips that available in the hardware. Good luck with both. So, how long can we expect to receive a manufacturer’s support for their products? What factors into a manufacturer’s decision to discontinue support of a product? Are our expectations unrealistic? If so, why?
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