The concept of „planned obsolescence“ ist becoming increasingly relevant. What is it? I suggest to read this short 2009 article that appeared in The Economist.
Recently, the German government and particularly the Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) announced to launch a first systematic study on planned obsolescence within electical products in Germany. The study is to be carried out by the Ökoinstitut and the University of Bonn and we can await the results in 2015. More information can be found here.