Microsoft has agreed to conduct an independent, third-party study of the potential impact of making its devices easier to repair and making changes based on those findings by the end of 2022, according to Grist.
The company promised that it would make it easier for its customers to repair the products it sells in the near future. The company is also studying the environmental impact of the right to repair and is working on its findings by the end of next year.
This initiative is a reaction to a shareholder resolution introduced in June 2021 that required the company to think seriously about the environmental impact to facilitate the reform of its products.
Shareholders have partnered with As You Sow, a nonprofit organization that specializes in shareholder advocacy, to help them lobby the company.
The agreement came after As You Sow submitted a shareholder resolution asking the company to consider the potential impact it could have by making it easier to repair its devices on consumers.
As You Sow withdrew its decision in exchange for the company conducting the study and making parts and documentation more available to non-official repair shops based on the study’s findings.
As You Sow describes Microsoft’s commitment as an encouraging move. But it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s just a step. What the company has done is commit to doing a study and then using it to guide product design and plans to expand device repair options.
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Microsoft promised to research the right to repair
The fact that the company is willing to do so is encouraging, and that’s more than other tech giants have done when it comes to the right to fix. But it’s hard to say how big the impact might be without details.
The company promised to assess the environmental and social impacts associated with increasing consumer access to repair and to identify new mechanisms to increase access to reform. Including Surface devices and Xbox consoles. While expanding the availability of certain parts and repair documentation outside the company’s authorized service provider network. and initiating new mechanisms to enable and facilitate local repair options for customers.
The Right to Reform movement scored several major victories in the past year. And people want to fix their own stuff. Businesses and politicians started making it easier.
And the European Union moved to standardize phone chargers. A recent Biden executive order paved the way for the right to reform. The FCC has officially taken the position that people should be able to fix their own stuff.
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