Microsoft has stated that it will investigate the concept of right to repair in more detail. As reported by Grist and the shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, The right to repair will be actively investigated by Microsoft , it has promised to undertake a third-party research look into the possible impact of making its products more repairable and to implement adjustments based on those results by the end of 2022.
According to the agreement, Microsoft will investigate the possible impact of making it easier for customers to get their devices repaired after As You Sow submitted a shareholder resolution asking the company to do so. According to the research’s findings, As You Sow has withdrawn its resolution in exchange for Microsoft conducting the study and making parts and documentation more readily available to repair shops that are not official Microsoft service providers.
In their article, As You Sow calls Microsoft’s commitment to expanding device repair options “an encouraging step,” but keep in mind that this is all it is: the company said today that it would commission a study and use the results to “guide” future product development and repair options. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed this in an email to The Verge. When it comes to repair rights, this shows that the corporation at least wants to do something. In the absence of specifics, it’s impossible to gauge the full impact.
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Also, it’s not obvious if the general public will learn about these developments. However, just a summary of the study, not the full findings, will be required to be published by Microsoft by May 2022, according to Grist (citing concerns over trade secrets). If Microsoft keeps its word, it will be easier to get your Surface Pro or Xbox fixed in an independent store. If not, it will be more difficult.
iFixit’s US policy database is also cited by Grist, bringing attention to Microsoft’s lobbying activities. In Colorado and Washington, Microsoft lobbied against right-to-repair laws, according to the US Public Interest Research Group (also known as US PIRG). If this trend continues, it will be difficult to commend Microsoft for its work on right-to-repair issues.
Supporters of right to repair argue that despite the limitations, the accord is a positive development. When asked by The Verge, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens stated it was more than just talk because of the Surface Laptop’s improved repairability over time.
This is a huge, landmark move. Microsoft has voluntarily agreed to implement Right to Repair. https://t.co/aux6l8WWAA— Kyle Wiens (@kwiens) October 7, 2021