End-of-life (EOL) is a term used with respect to a product supplied to customers, indicating that the product is in the end of its useful lifetime and a vendor will no longer be marketing, selling, or sustaining a particular product and may also be limiting or ending support for the product. In the specific case of product sales, the term end-of-sale (EOS) has also been used. The term lifetime, after the last production date, depends on the product and is related to a customer's expected product lifetime. Different lifetime examples include toys from fast food chains (weeks or months), cars (10 years), and mobile phones (3 years).
Product support during EOL varies by product. For hardware with an expected lifetime of 10 years after production ends, the support includes spare parts, technical support and service. Spare part lifetimes are price-driven due to increasing production costs: when the parts no longer can be supplied through a high volume production site (often closed when series production ends), the cost increases.
In the computing field, this has significance in the production and supportability of software and hardware products. For example, Microsoft marked Windows 98 for end-of-life on June 30, 2006. Its software produced after that date, such as Office 2007 (released November 30, 2006), is not supported on Windows 98 or any prior versions. Depending on vendor, this may differ from end of service life, which has the added distinction that a system or software will no longer be supported by the vendor providing support.
With hardware products, the term has come to incorporate the disposal and recycle-ability of an article. Many companies are now charging a "recycling" fee up front to cover the cost of disposal at end of life. Many hardware products are now engineered with end of life in mind.
End of life ultimately leads to the concept of disposal - what is done with the end product after its useful life is over. Often this is neglected in life-cycle planning, leading to the needs for society to absorb the cost of responsible disposal.
- End of Life Vehicles Directive, a Directive of the European Union
- Planned obsolescence
- Product life cycle management
- Backward compatibility
- Scharnhorst, W., Althaus, H.-J., Hilty, L. and Jolliet, O.: Environmental assessment of End-of-Life treatment options for an GSM 900 antenna rack, Int J LCA., 11 (6), pp: 426-436. 2006
- Scharnhorst, W., Althaus, H.-J., Classen, M., Jolliet, O. and Hilty, L. M.: End of Life treatment of second generation mobile phone networks: strategies to reduce the environmental impact, Env Imp Ass Rev 25 (5), pp: 540-566. 2005