Thursday

SellYourMac’s Brian Burke on the True Costs of Old Tech

For years, customers have complained that their iPhones slow down when a newer model hits the market.


At the end of 2017, after the release of the Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X, searches for “iPhone slow” increased about 50 percent. While this “planned obsolescence” myth was busted by The New York Times in 2017, the truth is that slowdowns are real. Older hardware simply can’t keep up with new software.


Old tech is inconvenient for consumers, but according to SellYourMac founder Brian Burke, it poses a real problem for businesses. SellYourMac buys old Apple products and sells refurbished devices.


“Nobody can blame business leaders for wanting to save a little money by stretching the life of their tech,” he acknowledges. “But there are real consequences not just in terms of work speed, but also security and compatibility.”


Here’s how Burke breaks it down:


The age-old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” saying doesn’t apply to computer software and devices.


“Many older computers can do the basics,” Burke explains, “but what they can’t do is keep up with every software exploit and malware that bad actors might try to tap into.” It’s those vulnerabilities that open the door to identity theft and loss of important business data.


Yes, software vulnerabilities can be patched. But sooner or later, tech companies stop supporting older operating systems. And even properly patched operating systems aren’t as secure as current ones.


The greater issue, though, is that users often neglect to download the latest version of the software they use. In the WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017, 98 percent of the computers affected were running an old version of Windows. Prior to this attack, Microsoft had released patches to increase security and combat attacks like this, but WannaCry exploited users who hadn’t downloaded the update.


“Companies depend on their data security,” Burke says. “Renewed Macs tend to be a lot cheaper than the lost revenue and time after a data breach.”


Another cost Burke points to? Lost productivity.


“Because their machines technically work,” Burke explains, “a lot of leaders are willing to accept some productivity loss.” But he cautions that lost work hours add up quickly as team members wait on older machines to complete their tasks.


Think about it: If a renewed Mac costs $800 and employees are paid $20 an hour, 40 unproductive hours is enough to buy a new one. Across a team of 20 people, that’s just two hours of troubleshooting each.


Old tech takes a toll on workers’ output in two ways: Either things load slowly, or users have to search for workarounds when the given instructions won’t work. The first issue is particularly problematic for people in creative and engineering roles, who often deal with large files. And if a customer service team member has to find workarounds on the fly, the customer’s experience is sure to suffer.


“With all of the other stressors we face in the day, we shouldn’t also have to deal with sluggish technology,” Burke says. “Newer Macs create more positive attitudes at work, too.”


A third issue, which sometimes causes the first two, is incompatibilities. Older computers often can’t support current software.


Check out the system requirements for standalone Microsoft Office applications, for example. Many older Macs don’t have four gigabytes of RAM or 10 gigabytes of available hard drive space.


Although you might be able to limp by for a while with older versions of Office software, that won’t work forever. Clients may send files in new formats, which might not open or display properly. And using old software can also cut into productivity and data security.


“Software manufacturers don’t just put out new versions to make money,” Burke explains. “They do it because tech advances so quickly and newer features help team members to increase productivity.” Sticking with older versions is a competitive disadvantage.


Outdated hardware can increase a company’s liabilities, slow down the pace of work, and keep it from using the latest tools. But that doesn’t mean it should be trashed or left to rot in the storage closet.


There are several ways your company can sell its old tech products:


For Apple products


For iPhones, iPads, and Macs, Burke’s SellYourMac.com is a good solution. SellYourMac.com is a trade-in service accredited by the Better Business Bureau and trusted by more than 100,000 customers to provide a quote upfront and pay out cash.


For Android phones


Microsoft has a Recycle for Rewards program. Users can bring in their devices for appraisal and receive up to $700 off a new phone.


For Kindle e-readers, Fire tablets, and Echo devices


Amazon Trade In accepts old Amazon tech products. Although credit comes only in the form of an Amazon gift card, it’s usually available within two business days of when Amazon receives the shipment.


For Windows and other computers


The best trade-in option for Windows computers is third-party resale platforms like eBay. Online and brick-and-mortar pawn shops pay a fraction of what a user searching for a specific device, often as a source of parts, might pay.


Whatever you choose, Burke suggests doing your homework to make sure the service is legitimate. “There’s a lot of shady tech buyers out there,” he warns. “Ask around, and make sure the service you choose is accredited and trusted.”


Old tech isn’t just annoying. It can hurt your team’s productivity and negatively affect the security of your customers’ data. Get rid of it, and get what your business actually needs.





Brad Anderson


Brad Anderson



Editor In Chief at ReadWrite


Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.