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Apple switches sides, publicly supports right-to-repair bill

In a complete 180, Apple has endorsed a right-to-repair bill. As reported by TechCrunch, the tech giant wrote a letter on August 22, to  California state Senator Susan Eggman stating the company’s support for the bill (SB 244).

California’s SB 244 bill would require consumer electronic vendors to make tools and replacement parts available to consumers and repair shops, allowing consumers to circumvent costs associated with having the manufacturer repair or replace the item.

Apple’s support for SB 244 represents an about face on the company’s stance on right-to-repair. Previously, the company had reportedly met with officials in 2017 and 2019 in attempts to get right-to-repair bills killed.

See also: Logitech and iFixit partner up for self-repair program

In this newest instance, The Verge has shared what is reportedly a copy of Apple’s letter, giving some clues as to why the company may have changed its stance, including Apple’s appreciation that SB 244 emphasizes “individual users’ safety and security, as well as product manufacturers’ intellectual property.”

Apple’s support comes with some conditions, as well. The company says that in order for their continued support, the bill must not require manufacturers to “enable repair providers to disable device security features.” Additionally, Apple would require the bill to “focus on requiring manufacturers obligations to provide the documentation tools, and parts to enable the repairs performed by authorized repair channels, as opposed to a broader undefined scope of repairs.”

In an attempt to rationalize why Apple would offer a public statement supporting a right-to-repair bill, Senior Director of US Public Interest Research Group’s Right to Repair Campaign Nathan Proctor commented to Ars Technica, “My best guess is that it’s because we were able to pass a bill in Minnesota, and it has become clear that we have the ability to pass these bills. At that point, you can either try to have some input, maybe get some good PR while you are at it … because you can’t stop us. We are glad that the company has decided to do the right thing, whatever the reason.”

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