Bloomberg reports that United States President Joe Biden plans to order the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to create new right-to-repair rules that would affect tech companies like Apple and Microsoft.
While the agency will ultimately decide the size and scope of the order, the presidential right-to-repair directive is expected to mention mobile phone manufacturers and Department of Defense contractors as possible areas for regulation. Tech companies including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have imposed limits on who can repair broken consumer electronics like game consoles and mobile phones, which consumer advocates say increases repair costs.
Farmers are also expected to benefit from the new rules, as they face expensive repair costs from tractor manufacturers who use proprietary repair tools, software, and diagnostics to prevent third parties from working on the equipment.
In the past, multiple states have introduced bills to provide right-to-repair laws, although Apple has successfully lobbied against such legislation. The Cupertino firm says allowing repair of its devices by unauthorized repair shops would lead to safety, security, and quality issues.
While Apple does its own repairs at Apple retail stores and repair centers around the globe, it also runs an Apple Authorized Service Provider program to provide additional repair options. Apple Authorized Service Providers must meet Apple requirements.
In an attempt to stave off right-to-repair legislation, Apple has also launched a worldwide Independent Repair Program to allow independent repair shops to gain access to genuine Apple iPhone parts and to receive the same training as Authorized Service Providers. Then in March of this year, Apple expanded the program to Canada and 32 European countries.
However, repair shops have complained that Apple’s repair program is too limited, as it requires an Apple-certified technician to perform the repairs (available under a free program). Also, some parts are not provided to independent repair depots.