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Microsoft agrees to more easily repairable devices

At first Microsoft was strictly against better repairability, but pressure from a group of shareholders caused a change of attitude.

It is a novelty in the tech industry: Microsoft has agreed to make it much easier to repair its own devices from the end of 2022. This success is to be credited to As You Sow because the consulting firm campaigned for the right to repair on behalf of shareholders.

Microsoft will commission a study to examine the effects that better repairability of devices has on the ecological footprint and social behavior. The Surface and Xbox brands are explicitly mentioned here.

In addition, the availability of certain spare parts and repair instructions outside of Microsoft’s authorized partners is to be expanded and end customers are to be given more opportunities to carry out repairs locally themselves.

No! Indeed! Oh!

The road to Microsoft’s acceptance was anything but easy, as Grist sums up. The company was strictly against repairs and denied any connection between reparability and improved sustainability. It was only after a shareholder resolution in June 2021 that Microsoft radically changed its mind and said the study was a good idea.

The results of the study are to be published as a summary by May 2022, as the specific details are partly confidential information. So far, most Surface and Xbox devices are practically impossible to maintain because most of the components are soldered or glued. The Surface Pro 7 + / 8 and the Surface Laptop 4 are an exception; the SSD can be upgraded here.

In the medium term, the right to repair could also cause changes for other companies, as corresponding shareholder resolutions have also been submitted to Apple and the construction machinery manufacturer Deere & Company. The background to this is Joe Biden’s presidential decree, which calls for better reparability.

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