Right to Repair can be a heated topic for some. It’s certainly an important one, and Apple can’t deny that — especially with just how hard it tries to stop it from becoming a thing in the United States.
A new report from Bloomberg today aims to show just how far not just Apple, but also Google, Microsoft, and other companies, will go to prevent Right to Repair bills from passing in local and federal government bodies in the U.S. Right to Repair legislation pops up on a semi-regular basis in legislative bodies all across the country, and companies like Apple and Google send lobbyists out into the wild to try and stop them.
In pretty much every scenario, those lobbyists are as successful as the companies would want them to be.
As such, a general “Right to Repair” is not expected in the United States. Which means that companies don’t have to provide things like device schematics and/or genuine repair parts to independent repair shops. Basically, these companies have their own ideas of how repairs on devices should be done, and that typically does not include customers taking the devices they own to any shop they’d like.
The report says that, this year alone, 27 states have weighed a Right to Repair bill in some capacity or another. More than half of those efforts have been outright dismissed or voted down up to this point. Unsurprisingly, companies have relied on trade groups and lobbyists to get those bills shot down.
For its part, Apple has said in the past that its fight against “Right to Repair” isn’t so much about blocking customers from repairing their devices at shops they choose. Instead, it’s about knowing that the repairs are done correctly and with genuine parts. For Apple, on paper, it’s about customer safety and awareness.
However, many have argued over the years that Apple’s in the business of selling products, and, as a result, repairing devices to make sure they keep running for years is not in the general business model. And, indeed, quoted in the report is one Justin Millman, an owner of an independent repair shop that has trouble sourcing iPad displays for repairs.
Millman says that Apple is not shy about reducing repair programs in general because it means customers will need to buy new products. He says:
That’s why Apple doesn’t answer my emails. For them, it’s just dollars and cents. They don’t think about the person on the other side of the iPad.
In 2019, Apple launched a global Independent Repair Shop program. This allows many third-party repair shops offer up genuine parts in their repairs of select Apple products. Like out-of-warranty iPhones (and, more recently, some Macs). However, those repair programs have strict contracts, and many repair shops are not capable of meeting Apple’s demands. One such demand is that an Apple-certified technician actually handle the repairs on Apple’s products.
That’s not an option for a lot of third-party repair shops. And, what’s more, some product parts just aren’t available to these third-party shops, even if they meet other criteria.
Go check out the full report, it’s certainly worth a read.
How do you feel about Apple’s efforts to stamp out Right to Repair bills throughout the United States? Wish the company had to follow business practices like in France, where it must show repairability scores for its products?