What does EoL mean?
Every technical product has its own life cycle, companies then no longer support software and hardware and production is either discontinued or cut back sharply. Here one speaks generally of the end of life, the end of the life of a product.
The term End of Life, EOL for short, describes the transition from series production to discontinuation or post-series production in the production of software and hardware. The term is often mixed up with the end of sale, which is the preferred term for many retailers.
In the timeline of a product for consumers or business customers, EOL is at the end of the product cycle. This begins with the general availability and the date of the last order – before this date there is usually a corresponding announcement, the End of Life Announcement. With this announcement, customers will once again have the opportunity to order an expiring product. The original supplier still provides technical support, service and, if necessary, spare parts until the end of life.
The end-of-life announcement is also essential for sellers and digital trading platforms, as this allows them to work with a transition phase. In this phase, you add the newer products to your range or end your ability to download software that is no longer supported by the manufacturer in a few months. This usually comes with newer software that takes the place of the older system.
While the end of life does not de facto mean that software and hardware will become unusable, many customers are still deterred because missing patches and insufficient technical support make products unsafe and reliability is no longer guaranteed. Corporate customers in particular cannot afford to use discontinued products if compatibility with applications or hardware can no longer be guaranteed.
The more complex with discontinued products
Of course, in a complex ecosystem of products, no single product stands on its own; an end of life announcement of a product always has far-reaching consequences for a more complex market.
If the product cycle of an older operating system that still supports an older processor generation ends, the processor manufacturer can also shorten the life cycle of the older generation, since the number of potential buyers ends. Conversely, the transition from a hardware generation to a discontinued product may mean the end of legacy software that modern systems can no longer technically support.
One way that software can escape the end of life is often through the transition to open source . By disclosing the source code , support, updates and patches can be transferred to the community.
Product support and end of life
In product support, the manufacture of spare parts follows a very simple market economy logic. The production of spare parts or technical support for software must remain profitable; for most hardware products, the product support window is around ten years.
Without a corresponding market-related demand, the manufacturers can no longer produce original spare parts, but depending on the popularity of a product, this can still be supported by third-party manufacturers after the end of life. Often, communities of hobbyists and programmers arise around products who continue to produce apps, updates or spare parts for a product after its lifecycle has expired. An everyday example of this form of outsourcing can be found at smaller repair stations that also continue to repair older smartphones.
Other uses of the term and recycling under the EOL
Not only manufacturers of technology use the EOL term, End of Life is also often used as a term by companies that only use technology. In this case, End of Life does not refer to the end of life of a certain product, but to the technology used in the company itself. For example, all computers in a department are given an End of Life (usually when the replacement is already in operation could be deleted) and then completely deleted. The companies then sell the technology or dispose of it completely.
For hardware manufacturers, end of life management also plays a decisive role in connection with sustainable production. So that hardware does not generate unnecessary waste, many manufacturers have voluntarily committed to accepting old and defective products and returning the recyclable materials they contain to the recycling cycle. This ensures that older technology is properly disposed of.