Microsoft Is Relaxing Its Rules On Who Can Repair Its Devices

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Ailan Evans Deputy Editor
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Microsoft is loosening its restrictions on how consumers can repair the tech giant’s devices by sharing more information on its products and expanding consumer access to parts.

Microsoft signed an agreement with investor advocacy group As You Sow to study how expanding who can repair its devices can improve climate and social goals, and the company promised to act on the study’s results, according to Grist. The tech giant will permit consumers and repair shops not on Microsoft’s list of authorized providers to access parts schematics for Surface computers and to repair its devices, according to Bloomberg.

The company will also “initiate new mechanisms to enable and facilitate local repair options for consumers,” according to a press release from As You Sow. (RELATED: China Denies Responsibility For Microsoft Hack, Accuses CIA Of Cyber Theft)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Microsoft President Brad Smith, speak during the 2016 Microsoft Annual Shareholders Meeting in Bellevue, Washington. (Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

“This is an encouraging step by Microsoft to respond to the upswell of federal and state activity in the right to repair movement,” Kelly McBee, waste program coordinator at As You Sow, said in the press release. “Excitingly, this agreement will begin to allow consumers to repair their Microsoft devices outside the limited network of authorized repair shops.”

Microsoft agreed to the changes, which will take effect in 2022, in response to a shareholder resolution led by As You Sow designed to reduce electronic waste. The company has previously lobbied against “right to repair” proposals which expand consumer access to parts and information, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order in July which aimed to promote competition and protect consumers by directing the Federal Trade Commission to craft rules combating “unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair.”

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