Microsoft is one of the first major tech comapnies to respond to calls to re-examine its stance on right to repair, and has pledged to re-think it's stance on the subject and make changes to its policies by the end of next year.
Per Grist and the shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, Microsoft is willing to address the concerns of the right to repiar movement, and has agreed to hire an independent consultant to look into the benefits of giving consumers more tools and rights when it comes to repairing their own tech.
Traditionally, access to parts and repair documentation has been made intentionally tricky for consumers as companies like Apple, Microsoft and Samsung prefer to coax consumers into using expensive repair partners or buying new products outright to replace faulty goods.As You Sow conducted a shareholder resolution back in June this year asking Microsoft to look into the “environmental and social benefits” of allowing conumers to repair their devices – and the pressure seems to have worked.
Microsoft will publish a summary of its findings by May 2022, and though the advocacy group says the pledge is “an encouraging step,” it remains to be seen just how much Microsoft is going to change its policies.
As per The Verge, Microsoft will use this step as a “guide” for its “product design and plans for expanding device repair options,” in the future. So it could yet amount to very little actual change. It's worth noting at this point, also, that Microsoft has historically been involved with lobbying against right-to-repair laws in Colorado and Washington.
Here's hoping Microsoft and Xbox engaging with the right to repair movement actually moves the conversation forward a little, and prompts other large tech companies to follow suit. Some key voices of the right to repair movement have already seen this agreement as encouraging and forward-thinking, so let's hope it gains a little more traction in the months and years ahead.