When a company releases a new product they may try to deteriorate their older products to attract their customers to the new shiny thing. This can include:

  • Releasing fewer updates for an older software or stop updating it altogether
  • Removing features from the old product and add them back in the new one
  • Making the old product slower, or breaking the workflow of existing customers

I already know of planned obsolescence but it suggests that the deterioration of the old product was thought of and conceived in the past whereas I want to imply active, present deterioration.
I am looking for a way to say "This company is now making their old product worse than before to promote their new one". Is there any word or shorter phrase for that?

  • 1
    Sunsetting, deprecating?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 13:22
  • I've never heard of a company actively degrading an existing product to try and move clients to their latest and greatest as willfully harming your client's mission-critical asset is decidedly NOT well received. What more often happens is that a "de-support notice" is issued, telling the clients that they are now at their own risk should they not upgrade - with all of the legal, financial, and security aspects that this entails. Most companies being risk-averse take that pretty seriously. For capital equipment, shutting down the spare parts pipeline is also often a motivator. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 13:27
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    @MichaelBroughton Internet Explorer? The support of modern web standards has been one of the main selling argument of Microsoft for newer versions of IE, and one of the most infamously lacking feature of older versions. Each version of IE got upgrades until a new version came along, and Microsoft stopped updating older versions to solve known bugs or wrong implementations or support newer standards. You are right that it was not exactly well received. As of today, IE11 does not support ES6 but Edge does.
    – Kyll
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 13:52
  • 1
    I'm just noting the difference between "stopping updating" and "making a product worse" as was your description. "making it worse" implies an active and deliberate effort on the part of the company to sabotage older versions of their own product as opposed to simply ignoring and abandoning the old version and letting it deteriorate all on its own - which in Microsoft's case is what happened. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 13:57
  • I see the first point often. Given the pace of the software world, that is usually enough. I can't say I've seen the 2nd or 3rd. (I'd like to hear examples though!) There would need to be an extremely powerful motivator for a company to spend money removing functionality. Something would need to cost more than the development, QA, and re-release of the old product. BTW, since I haven't seen it mentioned, how about end-of-life? Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 14:42

1 Answer 1


I think handicap might work, as in How Microsoft is handicapping its own web browser.

The word means "to place at a disadvantage; disable or burden".

Although I'll admit it does not imply the idea of deliberateness.

As suggested by @Deduplicator, to cripple is another similar word, but with stronger connotations.

  • 3
    Well, in the same vein though stronger, "cripple". But you are right that the sense of why is missing. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 14:07
  • 1
    What about, deprecating like Dan Bron suggested? In the realm of computer programs and even more so computer code deprecated is often used.
    – Vincent
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 14:25
  • The idea of deliberateness is key, and in software must be very carefully approached. A company de-supporting an old product is a VERY different thing than "making their old product worse". It is setting a date after which it will no longer be updated. Implying a deliberate action where one does not exist may be actionable as it would imply willful harm to clients by a vendor. Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 14:43
  • @VincentAdvocaat Typically, if a function or a feature is deprecated, it means it should be avoided, especially because it's being phased out. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deprecation But there's no "evil plan" or "hidden agenda" implied.
    – A.P.
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 14:45

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