Microsoft is taking a step few of its competitors are taking, embracing right-to-repair for its devices.
Right-to-repair has become a growing movement in recent years, coinciding with tech companies making devices that are increasingly locked down. Even something as basic as replacing a cellphone battery, once a common occurrence, is virtually impossible without major deconstruction and technical ability.
Legislation has been introduced in many jurisdictions, with some laws being passed, to try to force companies to improve their support for right-to-repair. In addition to being helpful for consumers, repairing devices can extend their useful lifetime and reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfills.
Microsoft has now become first major company to embrace right-to-repair, according to Grist, coming to an agreement with the nonprofit As You Sow. Ultimately, Microsoft not only agreed to As You Sow’s requests, but is even going beyond their agreement. The company is studying how to improve access to both parts and information, in an effort to help consumers more easily repair their devices. The company plans to act on its findings by the end of 2022.
The news is a major win for the environment, consumers and right-to-repair efforts, and is being praised across the industry.
“We’ve seen shareholder resolutions become a significant tool for climate activists,” Kerry Sheehan, the U.S. policy director at iFixit, told Grist. “We’re seeing it get adopted in the repair context as well in part because these are very connected.”