The EU and the UK have both recently expanded right to repair laws aimed at reducing e-waste and saving customers money. As this movement gains popularity, Microsoft shareholders have successfully pressured the company into expanding the repairability of its goods.
Although the US has limited right to repair laws, the new Microsoft decision will have the company hire an independent third-party to assess how it can make products more easily repairable for the good of the environment and consumers.
The study will be conducted by advocacy group As You Sow and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022. From there, the company will evaluate and act on the study’s conclusions.
Microsoft is the first major US device company to consider right-to-repair reform, but similar movements are underway at others including Apple and John Deere. Microsoft’s actions date back to a shareholder resolution filed by As You Sow earlier this year which requested that the company “analyze the environmental and social benefits of making its devices more easily repairable through measures such as the public provision of tools, parts, and repair instructions.”
Shareholders voted in favor of the resolution, which cited evidence about the growing crisis of e-waste. Increasing reparability also improves customer satisfaction. Other leaders in the right-to-repair movement include this entirely repairable and upgradable laptop from San Francisco-based startup Framework.