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Speeding High-Tech Producer, Meet the Balking Customer

Increasingly, hardware producers and software developers are falling over each other to be first to market with even newer and even more improved versions. To use IT-intensive products effectively, consumers often must make long-term financial and nonfinancial investments in the product or in the overall system; they expect to be able to use the product for an extended period before having to repeat the investment. The rapid introduction of new and improved versions can make a consumer regret a previous purchase, hesitate over any new purchase, and agonize over similar purchases in the future. It is not in a producer's long-term interest if consumers balk. The author articulates the underlying reasons for -- and the consequences of -- adverse consumer reaction to rapid product improvement and offers suggestions for mitigating some of these reactions.

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