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On Friday, Microsoft released the results of an independent study it commissioned exploring the environmental benefits of making its devices easier to repair. Its conclusions affirm what right-to-repair advocates have been saying for years: Fixing devices instead of replacing them reduces both waste and the emissions associated with manufacturing new ones.
Based on these findings, Microsoft will be taking actions to enable greater repairability of its devices by the end of the year, as stipulated in an agreement the tech company reached with investor advocacy nonprofit As You Sow last fall.
Microsoft’s study release came just two days after Apple launched “Self Service Repair,” a first-of-its-kind program that allows owners of recent iPhone models to order genuine Apple parts and tools to conduct basic smartphone repairs, like screen and battery replacements, at home. More such programs are coming: In late March and early April, Samsung and Google announced plans to sell genuine parts for smartphone repairs via partnerships with the repair guide site iFixit. Both of those programs appear on track to launch in the next few months.
From a consumer perspective, these actions are small steps toward a world in which tech titans actively facilitate repair of their products rather than standing in the way of it. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google have not only historically designed products that are hard to fix, but also have a well-documented history of fighting bills that would support consumers’ right to repair them. For these corporations, repair audits and programs represent a major shift in policy that would not have come about without a mix of public and shareholder pressure, as well as the specter of looming laws and regulations aimed at curbing Big Tech’s anti-repair practices.
Companies are also changing their tune on repair because restricting it is increasingly at odds with their climate and sustainability goals, something shareholders have been keen to point out.
Microsoft’s new repair study affirms that independent repair has tangible environmental benefits.
Conducted by technical consultancy Oakdene Hollins, the study…