Microsoft has joined Apple and Google in opposing Right to Repair legislation, reports IOL, with lobbying by the companies successfully squashing proposed laws in 27 states so far.
Right to Repair advocates have lobbied for companies to release schematics and sell spare parts to repair shops, which are often cheaper and more conveniently located to customers, but Apple-backed association, Security Innovation Center, told lawmakers such legislation “would have gifted hackers with digital keys to thousands of Internet-connected products.”
“Allowing unvetted third parties with access to sensitive diagnostic information, software, tools, and parts would jeopardize the safety and security of consumers’ devices and put consumers at risk for fraud,” said David Edmonson, vice president of lobbying group TechNet, who represents Apple and Google amongst others. “States have continually rejected legislation like this, with 25 states alone last year deciding not to take action.”
Microsoft’s president Brad Smith personally discussed the issue with state lawmakers, reportedly treating it as an existential threat.
“We believe consumers are entitled to receive repair services that are safe and effective,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. “We provide consumers with repair services that ensure the high quality of repairs, safeguard consumer’s privacy and security, and protect consumers from injury.”
The FTC does not agree, and in a recently released report said “There is scant evidence to support manufacturers’ justification for repair restrictions,” noting that the pandemic has exacerbated the effects of repair restrictions on consumers, with many Apple’s Stores closing for example and unable to service customers.
At present, it appears that the Right to Repair movement is fighting a losing battle when it comes to consumer electronics, but it is wise to bear in mind the actual position of companies when they profess to be environmentalists and consumer advocates.