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The short life of IT products

By Jean-Claude Elias - Sep 28,2017 - Last updated at Sep 28,2017

It is a situation that probably only exists in the world of Information Technology (IT). You almost spend more time searching for the best tool to work with and learning your way around it than actually using it in the end.

The useful life of most IT products is horribly short, software in particular. Take Microsoft’s Money, the nice and easy application that used to let you manage your personal accounts. It did a good job for a short while, just the time to let you get familiar with it and to start really liking it, and then the company decided to “wean” its users by withdrawing the product from the market and discontinuing it.

The search then started for a replacement. AceMoney and MoneySpire are qualified candidates — among about 15 others that is! It takes a lot of time and significant effort to do the search, to read the countless reviews available on the net and provide an assessment and a comparison between the different products. Then, you would eventually opt for downloading a timed free version of some of the 15 programmes; that of course all do more or less the same thing.

It is only after trying a few that you decide which one would be the best for you. “Trying a few” here represents days and even weeks of work and effort, of thinking. Once you set your mind on an application you then ask yourself “how long will I be using it before I have to look again for another, a newer, eventually a better one”?

The above scenario repeats itself again and again. TeamViewer is currently the preferred software product for remotely accessing other computers over networks of all kinds, including, of course, the Internet. The German company that makes it is doing a wonderful job. Before securing its place as a leader since about last year, it had at least two other such programmes as competitors, maybe not exactly as good as it, but they served the same purpose. GoToMyPC and LogMeIn are the names.

It took about two years for IT services companies, the main users of remote access software, to search, evaluate and compare and to finally select their favourite. Here again, how long will they be using TeamViewer before they have to start looking for the “next thing”?

And then there is Slack that may come and change all that you know about communicating with your colleagues at work by e-mail. If the latter method remains and by far the most widely used, it lacks all the “collaboration” features that a team may need for more efficient communication. E-mail is limited in that sense.

Slack was launched in 2014-2015 but it is only last year that it started to attract wide attention. How long before you give up on email as the exclusive way to communicate with your colleagues and start learning Slack? E-mail would remain the tool to reach people outside your teammates.


Some consumers, tired of searching, trying and learning more than actually using, simply refuse to blindly go for each new change. Instead, they skip one or two stages, optimising their time this way. This is a wise, a very smart approach to using technology, whenever the industry leaves you a choice —sometimes it simply does not.

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