Better Late Than Never: Google Formally Endorses Right-to-Repair Law

by Ammad Mubashir
Google Formally Endorses Right-to-Repair Law

It wasn’t so long ago when the tech industry openly opposed the Right to Repair idea. Providing legal rights to consumers for modifying or repairing their devices was always a great initiative. But it wasn’t received well at first.

In a 180-degree turn, Google has now formally endorsed the Right to Repair legislation. The legislation is particularly beneficial to customers looking for affordable cell phone repair but have no such option. 

Read on to find out how the Right to Repair movement benefits cell phone repair businesses, and how Google’s endorsement will help pass the Oregon bill.

The Need for a Right to Repair Law

The Right to Repair movement had clear goals of promoting repairability throughout various industries. Naturally, consumers and repair businesses both benefit from this right as there are no restrictions on parts or repairs. 

For this legislation to be effective, manufacturers are required to design and construct devices in a way that allows easy repairs.

Moreover, spare parts and other necessary tools should be provided to the repair businesses or end users who are to repair the devices.

The Right to Repair Movement not only benefits end users by making repairs more affordable. It also promotes environmental sustainability by encouraging tech companies to invest in more repairable products.

Initial Rejection by Tech Companies

Due to a number of cited reasons, tech companies initially opposed the Right to Repair movement. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, and Tesla, have spent millions convincing lawmakers not to support it. 

The reasons include staining their intellectual property rights, the possibility of consumers injuring themselves fixing their devices, and independent repair leading to hacking.

For Apple, the true anti-repair innovation comes from the most pernicious US tech law: Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

DMCA 1201 is an “anti-circumvention” law. It bans the distribution of any tool that bypasses “an effective means of access control.” 

Google Taking a Step in the Right Direction

“Google believes that users should have more control over repair—including access to the same documentation, parts and tools that original equipment manufacturer (OEM) repair channels have—which is often referred to as ‘Right to Repair,’” Google’s Steven Nickel wrote in a white paper published Thursday

“This legislation represents an inclusive compromise that brings tech companies, small repair companies, environmental leaders and legislators to the table to find common ground and support the repair movement,” the company wrote. 

Moreover, Google has also provided details on how it makes repairing its devices easier for the end users:

  • Repair parts: We ensure that parts for our phones are accessible to the public. We also do not require burdensome parts pairing or registration, meaning that a properly installed screen or battery will work no matter who is doing the repair. This accessibility is table-stakes, as far as we are concerned. We also believe this effort enables small businesses and local repairers to thrive and grow by encouraging scalable processes with genuine parts that enable efficient repairs.
  • Accessible tools: We have consistently reduced the cost and number of repair tools required for our devices, and have now also made them available online for anyone to purchase. We have also launched an on-device Diagnostic App to help users test device functionality before and after repairs.
  • Clear instructions: We recently redesigned our repair manuals so it’s easier for repairers to use them, and we plan to continue to upload manuals for previous and future devices going forward. Additionally, we’ve elevated the visibility of repair-related resources on our Help Pages, including information on how to order parts, view repair manuals, and run diagnostic tests — all elements of quality repairs.

What it Means to Repair Businesses?

The right-to-repair law holds concrete importance in ending the monopolistic behavior of cell phone companies. Especially Apple which has made it nearly impossible to repair their devices.

This is splendid news for the independent repair shops. Now the market will not be dominated by the 2% chunk which includes these big tech companies.

 This law will help break the resistance of these companies by giving them access to their parts and tools for the repair job. The repair business has a lot of potential. How many times do you remember having fixed your favorite watch, home appliance, or cell phone from a nearby repair store

Every time you face an issue you tend to take it to your nearby shop for repair and viola it’s brand new again. Ever since these modern tools and complicated devices came in, you have been tricked into using their services. On the other hand, your neighborhood repair shop can repair the unrepairable!

The Bottomline

With the right tools, one can repair a broken phone error-free. It is extremely helpful for the people that need repairs there and then. The right-to-repair law restores the faith of consumers in independent repair shops by providing them with the tools and data to work with. This law empowers the repair business to do their job more efficiently and consumers to save their money.

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