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Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Amazon Wage War on Gadget Right-to-Repair Laws

Friday May 21, 2021. 08:42 PM , from Slashdot
For years, technology companies have imposed strict limits on who can fix chipped iPhones, broken game consoles and a wealth of other non-working (or defective) gadgets. From a report: Components are kept in short supply or simply not shared with independent shops to mend things like USB ports and batteries. After seeing these restrictions firsthand, Millman [anecdote in the story, who runs a repair shop in New York] joined a cadre of small business owners, hobbyists and activists pushing right-to-repair bills across the country. These measures are designed to undo rules businesses set to restrict repairs to authorized providers for a vast range of products from a Kindle to a wheelchair.

Twenty-seven states considered such bills in 2021. More than half have already been voted down or dismissed, according to consumer groups tracking the proposals. To advocates of these bills, the current repair system is a major reason why we cycle through personal devices so quickly, furthering the environmental impact of these gadgets. One reason these legislative efforts have failed is the opposition, which happens to sell boatloads of new devices every year. Microsoft's top lawyer advocated against a repair bill in its home state. Lobbyists for Google and swooped into Colorado this year to help quash a proposal. Trade groups representing Apple successfully buried a version in Nevada. Telecoms, home appliance firms and medical companies also opposed the measures, but few have the lobbying muscle and cash of these technology giants. While tech companies face high-profile scrutiny in Washington, they quietly wield power in statehouses to shape public policy and stamp out unwelcome laws.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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