United States president Joe Biden will request drafts from the Federal Trade Commission for new right to repair rules (via Bloomberg). We might finally see the light at the end of the tunnel that were the restrictions on independent repair from big tech companies.
Apple is one of those infamous industry giants that has repeatedly shown its opposition to the idea. Its efforts to expand repair services outside retail stores, like with Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASP) or with the Independent Repair Program, are still too restrictive.
AASPs, for example, have strict limitations on what repairs can be done and the components they receive for said repairs. This is one of Apple’s ways to control what is repairable while still keeping the ability to say it offers repairs. Another method to discourage repair is to overprice the parts required for it.
White House economic adviser Brian Deese shared that introducing rules aims to create “greater competition in the economy” and consequently lower prices for Americans. The president is expected to release his executive order in the following few days.
The topic of Right to Repair really started to snowball after last year’s decision of the EU parliament to implement more regulation on manufacturers in the effort to combat ecological threats. It declared that companies in the European Union have to provide explicit information about the repairability and lifespan of products on their consumer packaging.
Unfortunately, companies like Apple are still against loosening their grip over the process of repairing their devices. In the past, it has always combated and lobbied against any propositions raised by several states in the U.S.
The big A has even been caught making small unnecessary changes to the iPhone just to make the mobile technician’s work even harder. With the new legislation, such below the belt tactics will hopefully disappear, although it is yet to be seen how the FTC will enforce the new rules.