Legislators are pushing for the Right to Repair to be implemented.
According to a new survey, Apple, Microsoft, and Google laptops and cellphones are far less repairable than those built by competitors Asus, Dell, and Motorola. These findings may come as no surprise to those who enjoy tinkering with electronics, but the data that supports them comes from an odd source: the firms themselves.
The research, which was released today by the Education Fund of the US Public Research Interest Group, is based on data that corporations are now providing in France in order to comply with the government's world-first "repairability index" rule, which took effect last year.
You presumably already know that some brands' devices are simpler to fix than others, but a powerful advocacy group just verified your thoughts. According to The Verge, the US Public Interest Research Group has released a repairability report card that grades major laptop and phone brands on the ease of repairing their devices (based in part on French repair scores) as well as the company's overall repair policy. As you might expect, Apple, Google, and Microsoft received D and F grades for iPhones, respectively, due to their traditionally sealed-in designs, scarcity of components, and lobbying against Right to Repair legislation.
On the report card, no corporation scored an A. There were, however, some highlights. Acer, ASUS, Dell, and Lenovo laptops all received excellent B grades for better access and less resistance to Right to Repair, while Motorola was the only phone maker to match that score with its comparatively repairable phones. HP and Samsung were both given a C.
The goal of PIRG is clear. The interest group wants PC and phone producers to include repairability into their designs, after-sale support, and politics, just as it did with its push to open up ventilator repairs. PIRG suggested that goods that are easier to repair reduce e-waste and save money.
To some extent, the tech business is already changing. The Biden administration has increased pressure on American businesses to adopt Right to Repair, including a proposal to enforce pro-repair legislation. Some businesses are already shifting their mindsets, if only to avoid impending legislation. This year, Apple will begin selling components to customers, although newer Microsoft Surface tablets are quite easy to repair. The power of PIRG may still be useful, but it isn't the only force pushing the tech sector toward more repairability.