Lawsuit Accuses Apple Computer of 'Planned Obsolescence'

Apple Computer Inc. faces a lawsuit alleging it misled consumers and made low-quality software upgrades for older computers to "accelerate a deliberate policy of planned obsolescence."

According to the proposed class-action suit filed Wednesday in Superior Court in Los Angeles, the Cupertino-based company encouraged customers in 1998 and 1999 to buy their latest PowerPC G3 computers, while promising the units would be capable of running Apple's next-generation operating system called OS X.

The company also said OS X would be "fully optimized" to run on those G3 models.

But Apple, which released Mac OS X last year, broke both promises, the lawsuit alleges.

"Computers have a short life span compared to other assets — that's for sure. But when a company makes claims to spur sales, they ought to live up to their claims," said Thomas Ferlauto on Friday. He is one of four named plaintiffs and a Los Angeles attorney in the case.

Apple declined to comment on the pending litigation.