Wired takes a look at the “phenomenon” of your gadgets breaking just after the warranty on them expire. A conspiracy? No.
There are two components to this. One, manufacturers calculate with extreme thoroughness how long to make their warranties so they don’t have to repair a bunch of products for free. Two, it’s your brain that makes you remember that one time that something broke outside warranty.
“It’s really connected to two things: regret and memory,” says Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational. A gadget that dies a day out of warranty will piss you off a lot more than one that soldiers on until after you’ve lost the certificate. And years later, you’ll probably remember it more acutely, too.
Speaking to the BBC, Microsoft’s now retired golden boy Bill Gates had some interesting things to say about the Xbox 360. Addressing concerns about the Xbox 360’s much publicized reliability problems, Gates admitted that the console has had its share of problems. “We certainly had to apologize to our users about a number of boxes that had to be replaced,” said Gates, referring to the costly warranty extension that was enacted in July of 2007. He further notes that Microsoft has received positive feedback about Xbox service in the wake of its problems. He concludes by saying, “we’ve got incredible reliability on the new work that we’ve done, and so our commitment is that it will be the most reliable video game box out there.” Considering a fellow blogger in the Joystiq network recently got the Red Ring of Death on a replacement 360 only one week after he had received it, we’d say Microsoft has a ways to go before making good on that commitment.