Microsoft announced that under investor pressure, it will take environmental protection measures to allow independent maintenance of its equipment. In other words, it may soon give users the “right to repair.”
As early as June, the non-profit investor advocacy organization “As You Sow” pushed Microsoft to a corner, asking the company to provide an analysis of the environmental and social benefits of allowing users to repair their own Microsoft products (Grist, pass through Tom’s hardware).
In the end, after months of negotiations, the two companies reached an agreement. Microsoft not only agreed to take measures to study the benefits of repair rights, but also promised to take action based on the survey results by the end of 2022.
The study will see Microsoft work with third parties to evaluate “environmental and social impacts related to increasing consumer access to repair opportunities, and to identify new mechanisms for increasing repair opportunities, including Surface devices and Xbox game consoles.”
Further plans include expanding the “availability of certain parts and repair documentation” and launching a “new mechanism for consumers to enable and promote local repair options.”
Currently, for respectable reasons, there are restrictions on splitting your Xbox Series X: “We believe that customers have the right to receive safe and reliable repair options,” Microsoft told Tom’s Hardware. “We currently provide customers with maintenance services to ensure the quality of maintenance, protect customer privacy and safety, and protect customers from harm.”
The recent announcement is a big step towards a more open technological future. In our rapidly changing world, more of us put freedom above everything else—especially the freedom to repair equipment ourselves when something goes wrong. I mean, when you have a reliable screwdriver, who needs Microsoft to hold your hand?
The right to repair the movement is gaining momentum, and as Microsoft now avoids the possibility of gaining solid support, it is only a matter of time before more large companies join the trend.