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Microsoft Shareholders Agitate For Right-To-Repair

Microsoft investors are pushing the tech giant to make its devices easier to fix as “right-to-repair” gathers steam in the US and Australia.

Advocacy group As You Sow has filed a shareholder resolution with Microsoft requesting it look into publicly providing tools, parts, and repair instructions to increase reparability of its devices. Currently, the manufacturer only allows selective authorised shops to repair its products.

Kelly McBee, waste program coordinator at As You Sow, cites legislation such as the Fair Repair Act – recently introduced to the US Congress by New York representative Joe Morelle – as well as electronics being the world’s fastest growing waste stream as reasons for Microsoft to get on board with right-to-repair.

“Microsoft positions itself as a leader on climate and the environment, yet facilitates premature landfilling of its devices by restricting consumer access to device reparability.

“For Microsoft to authentically pursue its commitment to be carbon negative by 2030, it must make it easier for consumers to repair their device than to buy a new one.

“An important first step will be the company considering the public provision of repair tools, parts, and instructions, as this resolution and current federal legislation outline,” she said.

Major Microsoft rival Apple has recently expanded its third-party repair network.

Morelle, author of the Fair Repair Act, says right-to-repair laws would “level the playing field”, putting power into consumers’ hands.

“For too long, large corporations have hindered the progress of small business owners and everyday Americans by preventing them from the right to repair their own equipment.

“This common-sense legislation will help make technology repairs more accessible and affordable for items from cell phones to laptops to farm equipment, finally giving individuals the autonomy they deserve,” he said.

In Australia, the Productivity Commission is looking into the potential benefits of right-to-repair, with a draft report released on June 11 calling for more submissions before a final report to be sent to Parliament in October.

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