Apple is backing California’s right to repair bill in a major policy shift

Apple CEO Tim Cook interacts with a customer holding a Macintosh SE during the opening of the new Apple BKC store in Mumbai, India, on April 18, 2023.

Andranil Aditya | bloomberg | Getty Images

apple She now supports California’s Right to Repair bill, a major shift in the company’s attitude toward the movement and a potential boon for the environment, according to a letter obtained by CNBC.

California Senate Bill 244 It would require manufacturers like Apple to allow customers to fix their broken or damaged devices. It was introduced by a state senator. Suzanne Talamantes Eggman in March. Wegeman has introduced other right to reform bills in the past, Saying that the expansion of legislation right to reform It would “give consumers the option to save some money”.

In a letter Tuesday to Eggman employees, Apple’s policy team agreed, but said the company would not support the bill if it allowed repair shops to remotely turn off Apple’s anti-theft locks, which often make it impossible to repair or activate older computers that have been jailbroken. break it. Sold.

“We support SB 244 because it includes requirements that protect the safety and security of individual users, as well as the intellectual property of product manufacturers. We will continue to support the bill, as long as it continues to protect customers and innovators.” The company’s lobbyists wrote in the letter, which was seen by CNBC.

Apple also said it would continue to support the bill as long as repair shops are required to disclose “the use of non-genuine or used parts.”

Techcrunch A do-it-yourself repair guide company iFixit They were the first to report the message.

“Apple’s support for California’s Right to Repair Act shows the strength of the movement that was built years ago and the ability of industries to partner with us to create good policy for the benefit of Californians. access to repair.

Apple engaged with the lawmaker’s team “very early” in what Eggman’s chief of staff David Stammerjohan told CNBC they had “very constructive” conversations. Stammerjohan declined to comment on involvement or pressure from other manufacturers.

“Apple supports California’s Right to Repair Act, so that all Californians have greater access to repairs while also protecting their safety, security, and privacy. We make our products to last, and if they need a repair, Apple customers have a growing pool of repairs,” Apple said in a statement to CNBC. : “One of the safe and high-quality repair options.”

The bill would require manufacturers that sell products for more than $100 — the minimum that applies to most Apple products — to supply replacement manuals, parts, and tools for at least three years after the end-of-manufacturing date.

Historically, the company has opposed right to repair laws. Apple is not usually a major direct lobbying force, but it has reportedly used its considerable weight to limit right-to-repair legislation in other states. Including New York.

There were several reasons why the company opposed similar billings. Apple sells AppleCare+ insurance for all of its major product lines, which increases store visits and can sometimes lead to additional revenue if a product needs to be replaced.

But Apple is also serious about maintaining quality and control over customer experiences. In the past, replacing your iPhone screen at an unauthorized reseller would void your iPhone warranty. Substandard materials used by unofficial repairers can lead to further damage, or simply not work.

The company, under pressure from consumer groups, has softened its stance in recent years. For example, customers can now iPhone battery replacement As part of the Apple Self Service Repair program, which first launched in 2021. The program allows customers to order genuine parts directly through Apple and repair devices themselves.

Apple left the door open to support further expansion of the right to repair in the letter to Eggman. “Apple appreciates the opportunity to support your efforts to improve consumer choices in California,” the letter read.

— CNBC’s Kev Leswing contributed to this report.

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