Microsoft, one of the big tech companies has agreed to study the right to repair. The decision comes after As You Sow, a shareholder advocacy non-profit, filed a shareholder resolution. As You Sow’s resolution asked Microsoft to study the “environmental and social benefits” of better repairability.
In essence, Microsoft’s right to repair study is a result of investor pressure. Grist broke the story stating “This is the first time a U.S. manufacturer has agreed to change its repair policies following investor pressure. But it might not be the last”.
Microsoft And Right To Repair
According to US PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) study, all of the big tech, along with other businesses are actively lobbying against the right to repair. The top 5 businesses lobbying against it are Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. These, along with other companies trying to quash the right to repair have a reported cumulative worth of over $10 trillion.
However, Microsoft’s commitment to study the right to repair and its effects on the world is expected to make a difference. Users are more likely to replace a product that is costly to repair. This, combined with no access to third-party repairs leads to more e-waste. People should use gadgets responsibly and companies should let them repair these gadgets so that fewer devices end up in landfills.
While Apple’s repairs might be the costliest, we’ve discussed the intricacies of Apple and the right to repair in the past. Coming back to Microsoft’s right to repair, the company has agreed to get an independent consultant to study the benefits of making spare parts and repair manuals available to the users. It’ll remain an internal study, but Microsoft will post a summary of the same by May 2022.
Consumers have been lately getting proactive about things like online privacy and the right to repair. This is also leading to innovations in the same direction. For instance, the Framework laptop is the latest example of a fully upgradeable machine.