Pressured By 'Right To Repair' Movement, Apple Will Sell Parts To Independent Repair Shops

from the monopolizing-repair dept

Apple has never looked too kindly upon users actually repairing their own devices. The company’s ham-fisted efforts to shut down, sue, or otherwise imperil third-party repair shops are legendary. As are the company’s efforts to force recycling shops to shred Apple products (so they can’t be refurbished and re-used), and Apple’s often comical attacks on essential right to repair legislation, which only sprung up after companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sony, John Deere, and others created a grass-roots counter-movement via their attempts to monopolize repair.

The motivation for these behaviors is obvious: if users are repairing or recycling their iDevices, that means fewer device sales and more customers wandering outside of Apple’s ecosystem. Apple routinely obfuscates this obvious self interest under claims that it’s exclusively worried about consumer safety and security, like that time it claimed that Nebraska would become a “mecca for hackers” (oh no!) if the state embraced legislation protecting a consumer’s right to repair their own devices.

But the right to repair movement finally appears to have driven some actual change at the company. Apple announced this week it would be providing parts to independent repair shops for the first time in the company’s history, provided the repair technicians are certified. The program creates an entirely new “authorized independent repair” program, but for the moment it only applies to out-of-warranty iPhone repairs in the US, and it’s not clear yet how easy it will be to gain Apple’s official approval.

In a company statement, Apple implies the decision was driven by a simple concern for consumer welfare:

“To better meet our customers? needs, we?re making it easier for independent providers across the US to tap into the same resources as our Apple Authorized Service Provider network,? said Jeff Williams, Apple?s chief operating officer. ?When a repair is needed, a customer should have confidence the repair is done right. We believe the safest and most reliable repair is one handled by a trained technician using genuine parts that have been properly engineered and rigorously tested.”

Apple is, of course, hoping to preempt proposed legislation in nearly 20 states that would open the flood gates to consumer and independent repair, putting an end to the company’s dreams of a repair monopoly. As such, some worried that Apple was attempting to co-opt the movement by creating this new program that it still at least has some degree of control over. Others were skeptical that Apple would just reject a wide swath of applicants and make the program far more restrictive than the announcement would leave you to believe:

Still, the fact that Apple is even doing this speaks to the incredible work being done by right to repair advocates, who’ve increasingly been successful in pushing this subject into the mainstream. That said, given Apple’s history, it makes sense to not give Apple too many pats on the back until it’s clear the program isn’t rife with obnoxious restrictions and caveats.

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Companies: apple

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Comments on “Pressured By 'Right To Repair' Movement, Apple Will Sell Parts To Independent Repair Shops”

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32 Comments
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"What’s stopping them from reselling the components to other repair shops for a markup?"

Risk vs reward. The reason Apple are certifying the stores is so they can keep track of "genuine" repairs. Stores that are going to be doing "dodgy" repairs will just get off-brand parts much cheaper. The genuine Apple parts will come with a genuine Apple markup.

Meanwhile, the certification will be worth much more to the certified store than the margin they’d get reselling parts, in terms of the premium they will be able to charge for the repair. If for no other reason, these will be limited and likely expensive, so there’s no incentive to sell to competitors who haven’t got that overhead.

They might be some who still risk it, but not many people are going to go through the cost and effort of getting official certification to then break their exclusive contract by selling to competitors.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Astro-turfing Zombie ain't gonna respond to ya, "Pau

It’s impressive really. You dive into irrelevant threads to rant about people commenting too little. Then, you attack me for commenting too much. Is there any level of posting, besides your own obsessive spamming, that’s OK?

"reading my warnings"

Laughing at them. I’ve been laughing. I don’t care how often someone posts if they have something interesting to say or it’s relevant to the conversation. The only exception to that is when your insane ass presents itself for mockery.

Fillip T. Dick, awthor of bad fannasy says:

Re: Do Zombies Dream Of Rotting Sheep?

Up early for its twelfth one-liner in over 8 years is:

Matt Williams: 12 (< 2), 3 year gap, 22 mo gap; 18 mo gap; rest back from 2013; begun Apr 8th, 2011.

As usual, without mentioning return, changes at site, the password reset of early 2017, just schlepps in blithely supportive for one-liner on minor topic.

Site nor fanboys show NO interest in these ODD "accounts"! Only comment is that I’m crazy for noticing.

Last week was JGracey or Gracey: 3 comments TOTAL, (<0.3 per year), SURELY LASTING RECORD! 11 YEAR 10 MONTH GAP! Jul 6th, 2007.

https://www.techdirt.com/user/jgraceystinson

Hooting astro-turfing zombies is nearly all the fun that’s left here. So don’t stop on my "account", ha, ha!

Fillip T. Dick, awthor of bad fannasy says:

Re: Re: Do Zombies Dream Of Rotting Sheep?

Yes someone years ago setup accounts using a name. Then waited, patiently, till years in the future just so they could post under that name again. They waited till the opportune time (because it would be more evil) to comment again thinking no one will realize they don’t post on every article.

Or maybe someone is trolling you by going into the comments of old posts so that they can use some old name again because no one registered the name in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: My how the pathetic have fallen

This is what you used to sound like bro.

“Of course the problem with Prenda is not copyright as such but fraud by lawyers.

For the record, I’ve always wanted the Prenda lawyers hanged, but wasn’t specific to their actions, just on the near certainty that all lawyers should be hanged for past crimes (which are usually unknown because their gang hides and okays the crimes). However, for Prenda’s specific known crimes, they’re not getting punished near enough for besmirching the good of copyright with their fraud.

In honor of Mike actually making this Prenda item good and relevant — which I though impossible, let alone for him — I forego my Prenda tagline, but admit it’s also to raise doubt as to wherther I’m THE out_of_the_blue…”

Bloof (profile) says:

Even with this tiny, caveat laden concession, I’m sure in two or three years time someone will discover they’ve added a ‘fix’ to iOS to make third party repaired phones run worse or shorten their lifespans. They don’t want anything to get in the way of their control of everything and ‘if I break, buy a new one!’ being the norm, no matter what laws may say.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Locally (Australia)

Yeah people that understand the technology and aren’t concerned with the latest device are going to do what you did. It makes sense. There is no reason to pay extra for a name brand when good and cheaper parts are available.

If I had a brand new phone still under warranty then sure let apple or whoever makes the phone repair it. That is if it is still convenient to have them fix it.

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