STATEMENT: After years of pressure, Microsoft changes course on repair

Media Contacts
Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network


The tech leader concedes to shareholders, committing to expanding repair options   

BOSTON —  Following shareholder pressure, Microsoft has agreed to take concrete steps allowing consumers to repair devices outside their authorized network, according to an article published Thursday on Grist. With negotiations led by shareholder advocacy group As You Sow, Microsoft will reportedly hire an outside research firm to analyze the environmental benefits of increasing access to repair, and making new parts and documentation available beyond its authorized repair network by the end of 2022. 

In response, PIRG Senior Right to Repair Campaign Director Nathan Proctor issued the following statement: 

“Microsoft’s agreement with As You Sow is the real deal. We’ve seen evidence that Microsoft was changing their tune on Right to Repair over the last year, but this agreement marks a new milestone: A public commitment to empower repair outside of their authorized network.

“Microsoft has come a long way, and they needed to. The company was widely criticized for their treatment of prominent refurbisher Eric Lundgren who went to prison for 13 months in 2018 for copying ‘restore discs,’ free-to-download software meant to help fix old computers. Some of Microsoft’s earlier products had dismal repairability scores from iFixit, including some of the least repairable products it has ever reviewed. Over the last three years, PIRG members and supporters sent in nearly 20,000 comments to Microsoft calling on them to embrace repair and stop punishing refurbishers like Lundgren. 

“Surface products were redesigned with repair in mind. And now the company is committing to providing parts and service information to consumers and third party shops next year. Not only will this help keep products in use and out of the waste stream, but it ratchets up the pressure on other manufacturers, some of which have their own shareholders to appease

“Every company should be aware that Right to Repair is coming.  Now is the time to get ahead of the curve and embrace repair.“