While it isn't illegal to wrench the console apart to survey its innards, Microsoft and a number of other companies ensure that repairing a faulty product is difficult if you're not familiar with what you're doing. Like a dragon with a penchant for plastic, paper and metal, Microsoft hoards the parts and the instructions for solving whatever issue has befallen the user in order to maintain partnerships with authorised companies who will carry out the repairs for the customer.
However, a chat with non-profit investor group As You Sow might change Microsoft's mind on the topic of repairs. According to the "right to repair" movement, approximately 53 million tonnes of e-waste is generated every year. Worryingly, that's about the same weight as 350 cruise ships. It's a serious issue and it's cheering that it looks like Microsoft is considering how to minimise its contribution to the problem.
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Grist (via VGC) reports that As You Sow and Microsoft convened in June to understand the "environmental and social benefits" of letting customers repair their own consoles. The outcome of these conversations led to Microsoft bringing in an independent consultant to create a report on the possibilities of the "right to repair" and if it could decrease the volume of e-waste from users of its tech.
"We believe customers are entitled to repair options that are safe and reliable. We currently provide customers with repair services that ensure the high quality of repairs, safeguard customers' privacy and security, and protect customers from injury," said a spokesperson in a statement given to Grist. If there are clear advantages to opening up these parts and instructions to the general public, then initiatives will be put in place at the end of 2022.
"As You Sow asked us to investigate the connections between our sustainability commitments and device repairability," continued the representative. "It was a productive discussion, and we have agreed to undertake that important study, the results of which will be used to guide our product design and plans for expanding device repair options for our customers."
Featured Image Credit: Billy Freeman via Unsplash, Universal Pictures
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