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The circumstance in which a good or service is no longer desired, especially when a new, better good or service becomes available. For example, relatively few people use VHS tapes because DVDs are both more convenient and are higher quality. VHS tapes, then, have undergone obsolescence. Some companies deliberately render their products obsolete because it makes customers more likely to come back and buy new products. See also: Planned obsolescence.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


  1. the tendency for products to become outmoded and to reach the end of their effective PRODUCT LIFE CYCLE. Obsolescence may be due to changes in style, fashion, materials used and the functions performed. With rapidly advancing technology and more fickle public tastes, product life cycles are tending to shorten as new, more sophisticated products supersede established products. Firms may respond by frequently updating their existing products in order to lengthen their life cycle. Alternatively, firms may deliberately follow a strategy of ‘planned obsolescence’ by bringing out a continuous stream of new products both to establish COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE over rival suppliers, and to increase their total sales by inducing customers to replace products more frequently.


  2. the reduction in the value of a FIXED ASSET because of a significant change in demand or technology which renders the asset out of date, or comparatively inefficient.

    Renting or LEASING plant, machinery and equipment avoids the risk of obsolescence, since at the end of the rental or lease period a firm may rent or lease a more modern fixed asset.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson


A loss in value of an improvement because something makes it undesirable or no longer useful,even though it might be structurally sound.

• Functional obsolescence occurs because of factors within a property, such as a poor floor plan or lack of modern amenities. A three-bedroom, one-bathroom house with a one-car garage would generally be considered as suffering from functional obsolescence.

• Economic obsolescence, also called environmental obsolescence and external obsolescence, occurs because of factors outside a property. Examples include construction of an airport near a residential area or a change in highway access leaving a retail area stranded.

The Complete Real Estate Encyclopedia by Denise L. Evans, JD & O. William Evans, JD. Copyright © 2007 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, our options for greening the existing office stock are to re-clad and re-engineer obsolescent buildings, to manage their environmental performance more rigorously, and, most important in my opinion, to use them more intensively.
Natural motherhood is not obsolescent, as The Atlantic once predicted, but ascendant, in vogue to an almost disturbing degree.
To the Editor: For an ME who was technologically obsolescent within six months of graduation, your magazine has been, over the years, a welcome fount of currency and updating.
Included in the appendices are a list of the intrinsic procedures; a description of the obsolescent features; an extended example illustrating the use of pointers and recursion; advice on avoiding compilation cascades; a glossary; and solutions to most of the exercises.
After liberating it from beneath unruly and obsolescent detritus, I read with interest the interview with ASAE Past President Harmon Towne.
His recent books include Obsolescent Capitalism: Contemporary Politics and Global Disorder (Zed Books, 2004) and The Liberal Virus: Permanent War and the Americanization of the World (Monthly Review, 2004).
Their undersea fleet had been negligible during WW II, and until the mid 1960s it was always noisy and somewhat ramshackle--good enough boats, perhaps, but borderline obsolescent and often limited in their capabilities.
Anacomp, together with its strategic partners, offers both analog and digital scanning services and electronic transmission and capture services to maximize capture capabilities, regardless of the genesis of the source document, data or image--and that includes old archived paper documents, data in legacy systems, obsolescent optical disk repositories, or outputs from the latest daily transaction system.
They marched by, toting heavy packs and carrying obsolescent, perhaps First World War-vintage, rifles whose true value potentially lies less in national defense than as collectibles.
At the same time, the obsolescent TV-guided AGM-65B Mavericks were replaced by newly delivered AGM-65G models with imaging-infrared seekers.
Any book is obsolescent on publication, and medical advances in the porphyrias are no exception.