Microsoft has announced that it will be making an environmentally sound move towards allowing the independent repair of its devices, following pressure from investors. In other words, it could soon be giving users the 'right to repair.'
Back in June, the non-profit investor advocacy group 'As You Sow' had backed Microsoft into a bit of a corner, asking the company to provide a analysis of the environmental and social benefits of allowing users to fix their own Microsoft products (Grist (opens in new tab), via Tom's Hardware).
Finally, after months of negotiations, the two companies have come to an accord. Microsoft has agreed not only to take steps toward researching the benefits of the right to repair, it has also promised to act on the findings by the end of 2022.
The study will see Microsoft working with a third-party to evaluate "the environmental and social impacts associated with increasing consumer access to repair and determine new mechanisms to increase access to repair, including for Surface devices and Xbox consoles."
Further plans include expanding "the availability of certain parts and repair documentation," as well as the initiation of "new mechanisms to enable and facilitate local repair options for consumers."
Right now, there are restrictions on pulling apart your Xbox series X (opens in new tab) for a respectable reason: "We believe customers are entitled to repair options that are safe and reliable," Microsoft told Tom's Hardware. "We currently provide customers with repair services that ensure the high quality of repairs, safeguard customers’ privacy and security, and protect customers from injury."
The recent announcement is a big step toward a more open future for tech. In our ever-changing world, more of us are putting freedom above all else—not least the freedom to repair our own equipment if it goes wrong. I mean, who needs Microsoft holding your hand when you have your trusty screwdriver?
The right to repair movement is building momentum (opens in new tab), and with Microsoft now skirting the possibility of a solid backing, it's only a matter of time before more big companies jump on the bandwagon.