For years, Apple has discouraged self-repair on its devices in favour of AppleCare, a closed warranty system that ensures upkeep should anything bad happen – for a price. While Microsoft has always been seen on the other side of the fence, it seems as though the company isn’t so different as it gears up to oppose the proposal of a “Right to Repair” bill in the United States.
The Right to Repair bill is a potential customer safety net that would ensure owners of any given device would be able to repair it themselves or through a third-party service without the original manufacturers making it difficult. Apple is unsurprisingly against the bill as it draws a staggering amount of revenue from its AppleCare facilities, which would inevitably be hindered.
For perhaps the first time in recent memory, it appears that Microsoft is strangely in agreement with its rival. MSPowerUser reports that Democrat member of the House of Representatives, Jeff Morris has been leveraging the company’s power to try and sway the 87 percent already in favour of the customer-focused bill via a form of bribery and strong-arming.
First of all, Morris’ sources declare that Microsoft is willing to back a tax that would fund STEM education, provided that the Right to Repair bill was promptly dropped from discussion. Secondly, he told iFixit that the company was supposedly threatening to withdraw the sale of its Surface Tablets in Washington if the bill passed.
Although Microsoft has yet to publicly address these claims, it could oppose the bill for a handful of reasons. Microsoft is likely banking on outright replacements and is afraid that an encouragement to repairs could hinder its bottom line, which accounts for its increased use of soldering and glue within modern Surface devices. Another speculation is that it is gearing up to establish its own repairs scheme to rival AppleCare, although there has been no clear evidence of this so far.
If these comments are indeed true, then there are concerns that Microsoft is engaging in anti-competitive and anti-consumer behaviour. Advocating for a continuous stream of replacements over repairs is also harmful to the environment, contradicting Microsoft’s internal efforts to reduce its carbon footprint by implementing an emission tax over its business divisions.
KitGuru Says: Microsoft’s alleged efforts to dissuade the Right to Repair bill might only affect the US directly, but it shows a dangerous direction that the company is potentially headed in. Overall, those that do wish to utilise self-repair and third-party services should be vigilant as there are a lot of scammers out there replacing components with subpar hardware.