Hewlett-Packard’s Role in the Fate of My Purple Laptop
My Purple HP Laptop
Out of the many technological devices I own, I depend on my purple HP laptop the most. My dependency on it spawned from a distaste I have for not having anything to do. I love to keep my mind busy with writing short stories or playing strategy games online. I think of my laptop as a window which can open up to a myriad of possibilities where I can learn, create, share and play. I feel comfortable knowing that with my laptop by my side I will never be bored. Although it is an inanimate object, my laptop has played a part in shaping my personality and it has had a huge effect on how I live my life by taking on an important role in my daily routine. Its secret power is how it gives me a sense of freedom by being able to connect me to the world and by giving me information and the ability to create at my fingertips. It connects me to answers, information and ideas in a matter of seconds. The moment I open my laptop, I feel invigorated. I feel as if I have the ability to create and contribute to the world. It gives me a sense of belonging and it has become a part of who I am.
My purple laptop is the second laptop I have owned in my lifetime. The first one I owned was a tiny Apple laptop that I purchased the year I started university. I found myself very reliant on that laptop as well. Seeing as it was the first computer I had ever owned, I stored all of my school work, photographs and music on it. When I had purchased the Apple laptop, it was on sale because a newer model had just been released. Because of this, it had older software than the newer model that replaced it. This consequently shortened its lifespan. I used my Apple laptop for two years until it became very slow and was unable to download the newest version of Firefox because its software had become old and obsolete. It is an understatement to say that I was very upset when I realized I had to purchase a new laptop. Nevertheless, I required a laptop that was up to date in order to finish my studies so I shopped around for a few months until I found my purple HP. The decision to switch from an Apple computer to an HP was based on the lack of computer programs available for Apple. The fact that the HP was almost one thousand dollars less than a new Apple laptop was also a deciding factor. Now that I have the purple HP, I no longer use my Apple laptop. It currently sits on the top shelf in the closet of my office where it is unseen and forgotten. I know that it will never function well enough to be used again, but to give it up to be recycled would be heart-breaking to me. Because of the memories I have associated with it, it will always hold a place in my heart and I will never let it go.
Hewlett-Packard’s Green Initiatives and the Fate of my Purple Laptop
Hewlett-Packard is listed as number thirty-five in Forbes most valuable brands with $57.9 billion in revenue as of 2014 (Forbes, 2015). It was founded in the United States in 1939 by William R. Hewlett and David Packard (Hall, n.d.). In 2014 the company’s profits were $1.27 billion, which was up 18% from the previous year (Burke, 2015). The company’s headquarters are located in the United States in Palo Alto, California and they currently employ 302,000 people (Forbes, 2015). They have several research laboratories located around the world including India, China, Russia, England, Japan and Israel (Hall, n.d.).
Hewlett-Packard has an excellent reputation as an employer (Nash & Fernandez-Kelly, 1983). They are known for having an exceptional work environment and they treat their employees well by offering higher than average wages (Nash & Fernandez-Kelly, 1983). They have over three hundred labour markets throughout the world and they have a reputation for employing a diversity of ethnic groups (Nash & Fernandez-Kelly, 1983). Furthermore, they do not gender discriminate (Karsten, 2006). The first CEO of Hewlett-Packard was a woman by the name of Carly Fiorina (Hall, n.d.). The current CEO is also a woman by the name of Margaret Whitman (Forbes, 2015).
As far as recycling goes, Hewlett-Packard leads the way with the most cutting-edge ideas for the disposal and reuse of their products (Greiner, 2015). The company’s innovative plan is called closed looped recycling, which involves creating items specifically to be reused (Greiner, 2015). For example, when an HP ink cartridge is empty, the consumer can ship it back to the company free of charge so that it can be filled and resold (Greiner, 2015). Hewlett-Packard has recycled more than 500 million cartridges so far and up to 70% of their ink cartridges are made from recycled material (Hewlett-Packard, 2015). It is not only ink cartridges that can be sent back for recycling, they also offer free shipping for customers to send obsolete products back to them for proper disposal (Motolla, 2005). They boast that they design and ship items to be environmentally friendly from start to finish (Hewlett-Packard, 2015). With the convenience of free shipping to over fifty countries, Hewlett-Packard has made every effort to make its products as environmentally friendly as possible (Hewlett-Packard, 2015). Hewlett-Packard saves millions of dollars by offering a recycling program (Motolla, 2005).
Although Hewlett-Packard has worked hard to initiate a recycling program, they are still creating products with planned obsolescence in mind (Beam, 2011). For instance, in the 1990’s HP printers were a lot more durable and lasted a lot longer than they do currently (The Old Wolf, 2013). Furthermore, if Hewlett-Packard is as environmentally friendly as they claim to be, the price of buying a full set of their printer ink cartridges should not cost more than buying a new printer (Beam, 2011). Lowering the price of the replacement ink cartridges could encourage consumers to hang on to their electronic devices instead of replacing them with newer models.
Companies such as Apple play a role in making Hewlett-Packard laptops obsolete. Since Apple upgrades their technological devices on an annual basis, and since their technology is always marketed as being on the cutting edge, those who purchase other products, such as Hewlett-Packard, may feel as if they need to upgrade to a newer device more often than they need to in order to keep up-to-date with technology (Ackerman, 2014). Consequently, some consumers may choose to move forward with Apple products instead of HP because Apple’s marketing strategies always place them in the forefront of technology (DeMers, 2014).
Microsoft also has a hand in making Hewlett-Packard laptops obsolete. For instance, Microsoft upgrades the Windows software roughly every three years and once a computer is purchased with the newest software, Microsoft only offers support for the device three years following the purchase (Microsoft, 2014). Because of this, Microsoft will eventually be responsible for making my HP laptop obsolete. Furthermore, Microsoft will experience an economic gain by doing so since any computer running off the Windows platform will only be able to upgrade for a certain time period based on the original platform installed (Computer Maestros, n.d.). Once the computer is no longer able to load items because of its old software, it will no longer function properly and will therefore need to be replaced (Computer Maestros, n.d.).
The companies that create technological devices have the power to generate more profit by keeping planned obsolescence in mind during their creation. These companies create new devices that make their old technology obsolete, which in turn forces consumers to replace their old items with new items (Hogan & Zeffiro, 2015). This is how companies contribute to the vast amount of techno-trash in our landfills (Hogan & Zeffiro, 2015). Conversely, the aforementioned companies also have the power to limit the amount of techno-trash created by making their products without an expiry date and by limiting the frequency of software updates. The likelihood of this scenario is unfortunately not a viable option for companies such as Apple, who are making a lot of money and are therefore unlikely to change their marketing strategies anytime soon (DeMers, 2014). Sadly, if we as consumers do not stop upgrading our products to the newest technology available, and if the companies who create the products to fail do not change their ways, the landfills will be full of our techno-trash and eventually our electronic waste will take over the world.
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