A handful of states are pursuing so-called "right to repair" laws, which would make it easier for consumers to repair their own technology purchases and find replacement parts and tools. The proposals first originated of all places with John Deere tractor owners, who say the company's draconian restrictions placed on what owners can do with their tractors has made the cost of doing business significantly more expensive. But the push is increasingly popular among cellular phone and tablet owners, frustrated by rigid, costly repair monopolies.
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Third party phone repair shops say that phone makers like Apple and game console makers like Sony and Microsoft have effectively monopolized repair, using their size and power to drive smaller companies out of business.
Verizon and Apple have worked in union to thwart such bills in several states, but traditionally don't like to publicly talk about their lobbying on this front. They now have another state to worry about, with Washington State considering their own right to repair bill, created in the wake of outrage over Apple's decision to throttle the performance of older phones to (Apple insists) protect device integrity in the wake of failing battery performance.
"It was introduced before [the throttling] news broke, but that’s become something constituents and legislators have sunk their teeth into," Jeff Morris, the Washington representative who introduced the bill tells Motherboard. “They can say ‘this is what we’re talking about’ and point to this as the type of thing that is accelerating the demise of their technology so they have to buy the next model.”
After Apple confirmed it throttles the performance of older iPhones, the waitlist to have your phone replaced has been arguably absurd, something that could be easily fixed by opening the door to third-party repair shops, while simultaneously helping out small businesses.
14 different tech trade groups-- including the Consumer Technology Association, the CTIA, the Telecommunications Industry Association, the Computer Technology Industry Association, and the Entertainment Software Association--called the bill “unwarranted." AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile fund and dictate policy for at least two of those associations.
Apple has been notably obnoxious on this issue. When the company was trying to shoot down one such law in Nebraska, it attempted to claim that bringing more repair options to consumers would result in the state becomming a "mecca for hackers" and other "bad actors."