Thursday, Jul 08, 2021, 10:24 Economy

The Right To Repair – Apple Could Be In Deep Water In The USA

Discussions concerning the "Right to Repair" have been around for years. Such discussions revolve around matters like how long manufacturers should be required to provide spare parts, as well as the often forced usage of original parts made by the manufacturer in product repairs. Critics view the current system as problematic – given that many repairs are very expensive for customers, some manufacturers take advantage of this by making the process even more complicated. This is often done in hopes of convincing the customer to buy a brand new product instead. Apple is one of the major lobbyists restricting full freedom of repairs.

Apple defends its restrictive repair policy with a similar line of arguments used to defend its tight grip over the App Store – citing primarily quality and safety. Manufacturers often argue that there are security risks with the usage of unapproved accessories in repairs (or otherwise) and the risk of defects arising when low-quality 3rd party parts are used in repairs. In May, however, a report from The Federal Trade Commission objected to Cupertino's recent behavior regarding repairs, referring to it as monopolizing or being designed to hinder competition.

FTC Gets To Work
As a result of the FTC's report, new laws are being fleshed out in The USA – more clearly defining how manufacturers should proceed with repairs. Next up, the Trade Commission will create and offer up some concrete suggestions, which could reach the status of law at a later point in time. A number of device categories could be affected including smartphones, consoles – and even things such as tractors. Political support for such action has been emerging for quite some time and more affordable repair prices along with a longer life span for devices are amongst the benefits that the general population would receive.

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Impact In More Than Just The USA
One can easily assume that Apple is currently doing everything in its power to hinder the current push for more regulation. In Great Britain, Cupertino's attempts proved successful, and although there is a right to repair in the country – smartphones are the exception. Should things in The United States not go as well for Apple (The United States is notorious in the case of anti-trust limitations), there could be an international impact. However, it's likely to take a significant amount of time until such laws are implemented – this isn't shaping up to be a simple case solved in no more than a few months.

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