Microsoft takes first step towards making its devices easier to repair

Laurent Giret

If Microsoft’s Surface devices received criticism in recent years due to poor repairability scores, the company is now paying attention to the rising right-to-repair movement. Indeed, the company agreed to study how changing its repair policies to makes its devices easier to fix could benefit the environment.

According to a report from Grist, Microsoft has taken this first step after reaching an agreement with the investor advocacy nonprofit As You Sow, which had filed a shareholder resolution in June to push the Redmond giant to improve repair access and repairability. After As You Sow withdrew its shareholder resolution on Monday, Microsoft agreed to have a third-party organization study the environmental and social impacts of increasing consumers’ options to repair their devices, and the software giant will be required to publish a summary of the results in May 2022.

Based on the study’s outcome, Microsoft will also expand the availability of certain parts and repair documentation beyond the company’s Authorized Service Provider network by the end of next year. Moreover, the software giant plans to introduce new mechanisms to facilitate local repair options for consumers, though details are still unknown.

“This is an encouraging step by Microsoft to respond to the upswell of federal and state activity in the right to repair movement,” said Kelly McBee, waste program coordinator at As You Sow. “Excitingly, this agreement will begin to allow consumers to repair their Microsoft devices outside the limited network of authorized repair shops.”

Back in 2017, you may remember that iFixit named Microsoft’s first Surface Laptop a “glue-filled monstrosity” and assigned it a 0/10 repairability score. Things have certainly improved in recent years with Microsoft introducing removable SSDs in most of its Surface products. Later this month, more commercial spares for Microsoft Surface devices will also be available for purchase from a Microsoft Authorized Device Reseller.