Microsoft will expand Right to Repair options

Following a resolution by shareholders, Microsoft will expand Right to Repair options by the end of 2022.

While some media have reported this as ‘bowing to investors’, the fact is that any public company must cater to its investors’ needs. Ethical investing often outweighs money-grubbing dividend extraction. Microsoft is now leading the push for big tech to embrace Right to Repair – something Apple shareholders should also be requesting.

Microsoft has taken three significant steps to expand Right to Repair.

First, it will investigate the environmental and social benefits by the end of 2022 to comply by 2023.

Second, it will stop supporting any anti-right to repair actions.

Third, it will appoint an independent consultant to study how to make Microsoft products more repairable and increase access to the parts.

I applaud the sincerity that Microsoft brought to the table in negotiating this agreement and hope additional manufacturers follow suit. Its action demonstrates that the company recognizes that extending the lifetime of its devices through repair is essential to meeting its climate goals and that the company is serious about taking action to do so.” 

Kelly McBee, waste program coordinator at As You Sow

What’s Apple doing?

Green Century, an environmentally responsible mutual fund investor, filed a similar right to repair resolution with Apple. It won’t get anywhere as Apple’s shareholder power is tight-knit.

Investors are extremely concerned about Apple’s disingenuous combination of promoting environmental sustainability while inhibiting product repair. The company risks losing its reputation as a climate leader if it does not cease its anti-repair practices.

Green Century President Leslie Samuelrich

Green Century stated that despite growing its independent repair network, Apple continues to earn criticism for denying consumers and independent repair shops access to repair materials and designing products in such a way that hinders repair. Equally troubling, the company has doubled down on this approach by lobbying extensively against Right to Repair laws.

GadgetGuy’s take

It is called a chink in the armour, and Microsoft has weakened big tech’s anti-Right to Repair stance by showing its caring side. Legislators will look kindly on this move and expect the rest to fall in line.

Microsoft is not entirely altruistic here – it too has supported the anti-right to repair lobby. But CEO Satya Nadella understands more than most the need to be a good global citizen and that to be truly environmentally responsible takes more than lip service. He knows that happy shareholders come from more than dividends. – people, planet and profit.

This is a big win for Right to Repair. More GadgetGuy news here.