We will distinguish between operating system software (mainly Windows, Android, and
iOS platforms) and App software (e.g., MS Office, and the thousands of programs that
run on the Android and Apple platforms). The present comments are primarily about
the former, as the latter are mostly at the discretion of the user.
Major updates are too frequent. It is highly doubtful that the vast majority
actually need them so frequently. Manufacturers/publishers should not be stampeded
into them by a small number of vocal customers ("Innovators" on the
technology adoption lifecycle bell curve). Competition is a factor, but by now
the platform wars are over and new customers are less-demanding ones, on the
"Late Majority" part of that curve. There are good reasons for updates, including
fixing weaknesses (bugs, hacker holes, etc.) and adding truly needed functionality.
But there are even more bad reasons, including suffocating with features overkill
(more isn't necessarily better), inconveniencing millions of users by changing the
look or functionality ("If it ain't broke, don't fix it"; changes in operating
system software can force changes in thousands of Apps or render them unworkable),
introducing new bugs, or not supporting older devices.
Valid changes and improvements are needed from time to time. But there seems to be
an endemic failure to list the changes and describe how to deal with them (e.g.,
how a user can carry out the same functions using a changed look and feel).