Steve Wozniak, Apple Co-Founder, expressed support for consumers' right to decide where and how to repair their hardware. According to Wozniak, Apple would not have existed if consumers had not had the right to repair their hardware without fear of retaliation.
Many hardware manufacturers, of which Apple is the best known have policies that restrict users' repair options, either making it impossible to access technical information or preventing the sale of official spare parts. Hence, these practices are in the sights of consumer rights organizations.
During a videocall with Louis Rossmann, a right-to-repair activist, Wozniak asked that his former company allow owners to fix and modify their hardwaree as in the early days of the company.
According to Steve, Apple would not have existed if he and Steve Jobs had been denied the ability to disassemble, tinker, modify and fix hardware. In the same way he recalled that much of the success of the Apple II was to sell it with the design schemes. From that point on, he asked himself:
So why stop them? Why stop the auto repair community?
What is the right to repair
Although Wozniak, because of its history, is interested in users being able to modify their hardware, the initiative is also useful for ordinary users. The right to repair means not only being able to choose the technician to whom we take our equipment and being able to decide when we want to change it.
From an ecological point of view, for each year that consumers keep their smartphones an environmental impact is achieved equivalent to leaving 636,000 cars in the garage.
The right to repair movement seeks that governments around the world force hardware manufacturers to make spare parts and necessary information available to interested parties to be able to freely make repairs and modifications. So far local laws vary enormously.
From Apple they argue (so far successfully) that Consumers could be injured trying to repair their equipmentFor example, by piercing the iPhone batteries and generating “spontaneous combustion”. Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, went further, stating that Apple iPhones are "too complex" for the average user to fix.
They need to ask legislators if they are willing to entrust the repair of complex equipment to people who vote as they vote.
However, things seem to be changing. On the one hand both the United Kingdom and the European Union adopted legislation against planned obsolescence which requires appliance manufacturers to allow repairs for 10 years from the date of purchase. According to this, companies must use designs and manufacturing procedures that allow consumers to fix their hardware without damage or modifications in performance, in addition to facilitating the obtaining of original spare parts through official distribution channels.
In the United States so far this yearor, in 27 of the 50 states, bills for the Right to Reparation were considered. However, of these, more than 50% have already been rejected. Only the Massachusetts one made it law.
According to reports Bloomberg, Big tech companies like Apple and Google turned to a consultancy called TechNet who sent letters to state legislators. His position was made clear in a statement signed by David Edmonson, his vice president:
Allowing unexamined third parties to access confidential diagnostic information, software, tools, and parts would compromise the security of consumer devices and put consumers at risk of fraud.
However, the tide can turn and not only because of Woznia's support.k. The Federal Trade Commission argued in a report to Congress that the current consumer electronics system harms competition.AI and economic development in low-income areas. Referring specifically to the difficulties of accessing equipment to access distance education, he stated:
The pandemic has exacerbated the effects of repair restrictions on consumers. There is little evidence to support the manufacturers justification for the repair restrictions