Tech companies are trying to crush mom-and-pop repair shops

If you’ve ever wondered why nobody other than Apple is officially licensed to fix your iPhone, it’s because the device titan has locked out everyone else from accessing manuals or spare parts. This pushes small electronics shops to buy used or counterfeit parts of dubious quality. But back in January, five states introduced “right to repair” bills that would force Apple and other device manufacturers to give the public access to proper instructions and components. Surprising no one, tech titans have been lobbying to kill those bills in at least two of those states.

It’s not just Apple keeping you from getting the parts to fix your iPhone, though Brasch does point out that there’s only one Apple store in all of Nebraska to go to for device repairs. Her bill to let folks repair their own tech is focused on agricultural machines, not consumer electronics.

What would likely happen, aside from making it much easier and cheaper for consumers to to get their own devices fixed, is a major loss of revenue from tech companies that currently have a repair monopoly. Apple has justified this dominance by claiming it ensures high quality of parts and services — which, in a perverse way, is true: locking out repair shops forces them to rely on potentially inferior substitute components and build their own reputation against Apple’s titanic brand.

David Lumb, @OutOnALumb

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