Microsoft could give users access to the parts and equipment to repair their own Xbox consoles and accessories.
As first reported over the last few days by Grist, Microsoft has reached an agreement with As You Sow, a non-profit investor group trying to persuade companies to consider the environmental benefits of letting users repair their own devices. As part of the agreement, Microsoft is hiring an independent consultant to consider said ramifications, and will post a summary of the findings no later than May 2022.
This could have massive consequences for the right-to-repair. It's always been perfectly legal for consumers to attempt to repair their own devices like gaming consoles, but manufacturers like Microsoft make this near-impossible by withholding spare parts and repair instruction documents. If the new study from Microsoft's independant group show there's a benefit to letting consumers repair their own products, the company has agreed to make spare parts and repair documents publicly available by the end of 2022.
However, this a lot easier said than done. For one, the Grist report rightly points out that Microsoft is a current member of multiple lobbying groups that oppose legal right-to-repair bills, which makes this move a significant turnaround from those established by the company in the past.
Nonetheless, it'll be interesting to see the results of the independent investigation that Microsoft has now commissioned, especially if the investigation provides substantial information that right-to-repair has positive environmental impact. Will the company side with consumers over their right-to-reply needs, or will they maintain a staunch opponent to right-to-repair legislation?
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