Via Kevin Drum, here's Michael Siminovitch of the California Lighting Technology Center at UC-Davis:
Consumers have an expectation that compact fluorescents will last a very long time — significantly longer than the incandescents that they’re replacing. This is technically achievable. Compact fluorescents can last a very long time. Unfortunately, I think we’ve compromised greatly on quality with many compact fluorescents and these things are not lasting quite as long as consumers have been led to believe. This is an issue.Gee, I wonder which penny-pinching mega-retailer might be largely responsible for that?