Yesterday, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, along with chief executives of other major companies like Amazon, took part in testimony in the U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee. While there was quite a bit to go over regarding the App Store’s policies, additional emails reveal quite a bit more.
Congress released a series of emails that were submitted by Apple as part of the testimony, and, interestingly enough, they include part of Apple’s internal conversations regarding Right to Repair. (The emails also included specific elements of Apple’s view on the App Store, the digital marketplace’s policies, and more.) Apple’s typically sided on its own behalf when it comes to Right to Repair, taking the fight against independent repair shops.
In March of last year, there was a belief that Apple could be preparing to change its tune, opting to stop the fight and comply with certain elements of letting smaller shops repair iPhones. And, indeed, Apple broadened repair options for iPhones owners by welcoming Best Buy into the repair fold in June of last year. However, Apple still isn’t a fan of the independent shops repairing its devices, and has said that it simply wants to make sure customers know that the products are paired “safely and correctly“.
Now, iFixit has highlighted at least part of Apple’s internal discussions regarding Right to Repair, especially as they relate to independent repair shops.
The emails show the high profile of Right to Repair inside Apple as leaders debate how to respond to a request for comment on an upcoming column. “The piece is using [Senator] Warren’s new right to repair for agriculture to talk about the broader right to repair effort and plans to use Apple as a symbol in that fight. We’re meeting with everyone shortly about the overall strategy and then I’ll connect with [Greg ‘Joz’ Joswiak].” The email goes on, “Appelbaum has, of course, talked with iFixIt [sic] and others.” They’re right about that!
The conversation resulted in a set of talking points that Kaiann Drance, VP of Marketing, talked through with Appelbaum. Afterwards, Apple PR wrote, “Kaiann did a great job and emphasized the need for a thoughtful approach to repair policy because of how important it is to balance customer safety with access to more convenient repairs.”
Apple has had to fight Right to Repair legislation across multiple states in the U.S., including in California. In an effort to persuade legislators in Apple’s home state from now pursuing Right to Repair legislation, Apple took an iPhone apart and tried to show how customers, and even independent repair shops, could harm themselves in the repair process if they did things like puncture the lithium ion battery.
iFixit is an advocacy group when it comes to Right to Repair, believing that someone who owns a product should be able to repair that item how ever they see fit, not just within the parameters set by the company who makes the product. And, indeed, Right to Repair legislation has gained traction in many states. However, it does not sound like Apple is going to give up on this fight anytime soon.
How do you feel about Right to Repair? Think Apple is right on this one? Let us know in the comments!