This actually shows that in a way *we* in the IT field have the wrong idea. At least some of the time.
Computers *are* just equipment to the end users in say a warehousing operation. Why are we not designing systems with this in mind?
In the warehousing example much used above if you avoid the latest gee whiz features and give them exactly what is needed there is no reason why the VAX of yesteryear cannot keep doing it's job other than it can't be maintained anymore. That's a failing on IT's part though, why was the machine not designed with a 20 year lifecycle? It can be done, there is no reason it can't. Yes it will be slow at the end of it's lifecycle but it will still do it's job perfectly well. Data? We have open and well documented means of storing data now, take your pick of method, so store the data in an open standards format and do the magic inside the program.
I can see where companies would not like building and selling to the maket like this, they are killing future revenues, but speciality machine manufactures have been existing like this forever, so why aren't we doing this?