Microsoft promises to actively look into right to repair
Microsoft agreed to conduct an independent third-party study on the potential impact of making its devices easier to repair and make changes based on those findings by the end of 2022, according to Grist and shareholder advocacy group As You Sow.
Microsoft agreed to conduct an independent third-party study on the potential impact of making its devices easier to repair and make changes based on those findings by the end of 2022, according to Grist and shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. The deal came after As You Sow filed a shareholder resolution asking Microsoft to investigate the potential impact it could have by making it easier for consumers to repair their devices. As You Sow has withdrawn its resolution in exchange for Microsoft to conduct the study and make parts and documentation more available to repair shops that are not official Microsoft service providers based on the results of the study.
As You Sow calls Microsoft's engagement "an encouraging step," but it is worth noting that it is only one step; what Microsoft has actually done today is that it will do a study and then use it to "guide" its "Product Design and Plans to Expand Device Repair Options," according to a statement emailed to The Verge by a Microsoft spokesperson. The fact that the company is at least willing to do that is encouraging and is more than other tech giants have done when it comes to the right to redress. But without specifics, it's hard to say what impact this will have.
It is also unclear whether the public will end up receiving those details or not. According to Grist, Microsoft will have to publish a study summary by May 2022, but not the study itself (citing trade secret concerns). That said, it should be easy to tell if Microsoft is keeping its word on the matter - it will be easier to get your Surface Pro or Xbox repaired at a third-party store, or not.
Grist also cites iFixit's US policy directory, which mentions Microsoft's lobbying efforts. According to the US Public Interest Investigation Group (or US PIRG), Microsoft has been involved in lobbying against right to redress laws in Colorado and Washington. If that kind of behaviour continues, it would be difficult to support Microsoft for any positive work it does for the right to repair.
Despite the warnings, right-to-repair supporters see this deal as a good thing. IFixit CEO Kyle Wiens called it a "great historic move" on Twitter and, in an email sent to The Verge, said it was "not just about talking," citing improvements in repairability. of Surface Laptop over the years. The PRIG's right to repair campaign manager also told The Verge that it was "the real deal" and cited it as evidence that Microsoft was "changing its tune" on the right to repair. If it ends up making significant changes, Microsoft could end up ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing its products' impact on e-waste and emissions - both President Joe Biden and the FTC have been working to clamp down on companies that make illegally Consumers find it more difficult to repair their devices.