In the future, Microsoft will make its hardware, such as Surface devices or Xbox consoles, easier to repair, making repairs by a third-party independent repair shop – or even consumers themselves, at least those who are techy (and confident) enough – a viable alternative to an authorized servicing firm.
This is great news for consumers because it means that repairs to Microsoft devices will be more widely available, more competitively priced, and most importantly—with the decision coming as a result of pressure from As You Sow, a non-profit shareholder advocacy organization focused on promoting environmental responsibility.
According to Grist, Microsoft has reached an agreement with As You Sow to make spare parts for its products more accessible, as well as repair procedures and instructional manuals.
Microsoft has committed to studying how to get there (in conjunction with a third-party) and evaluate the environmental impact of making devices easier to repair, as well as “new mechanisms to increase access to repair, including for Surface devices and Xbox consoles,” according
Although it’s a necessary step in the right direction, I’m pleased to hear you say so.
The relationship between the hardware and software is already proving to be a point of contention as Apple and Microsoft both emphasized their obligations under SOW.
As You Sow noted that rivals Dell and HP are getting ahead of the game by “complementing their authorized repair services with the provision of some instructions, parts, and tools to independent repair shops,” while pointing out that “Microsoft has received significant negative publicity for our products being more difficult to fix than those of these competitors and others.”
To some degree, this is an inevitable step for Microsoft given the legislation; not to say it isn’t welcome, and in fact, it’s good to hear a commitment to implementing all of this in less than a year. To be fair, Microsoft has been increasing the repairability of certain recent Surface devices, such as the Surface Pro X.
The debut of the Surface Laptop 3 introduced several changes, including (relatively) simple SSD replacement – moves like these may extend hardware life expectancy. As a result of Microsoft’s progress, perhaps Apple will begin to shift toward this viewpoint – you never know.
Apple has already been subject to a similar shareholder proposal, according to Tom’s Hardware, which reported on the issue.Customers that take their phones to a third-party repair shop instead of having them fixed by Microsoft are still at risk of voiding their warranty.
Customers who go ahead and perform work on their devices themselves are still in violation of the warranty, regardless of these further accessibility modifications. If punters want to keep their warranties, they’ll have to visit a third-party repair shop instead.
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