Apple will be opposing legislation in Nebraska and other states around the US that would give users the “right to repair“ their electronic devices outside of official company channels. The legislation would force companies to provide instruction manuals and components to third party retailers and repair shops.
A source inside the Nebraska legislature has talked to Motherboard, saying that Apple and AT&T plan to send representatives or lobbyists to a hearing in March, where the bill will be discussed. The two companies plan to oppose any such legislation arguing that consumers could damage their products or harm themselves by performing repairs on their devices. The case of exploding Li-ion batteries will reportedly be focused on, especially given the topic is still fresh in people’s mind following the Samsung Galaxy Note7 fiasco.
The so-called “right to repair” legislation currently under debate in Nebraska’s state legislature, and being considered in at least seven other states, has been a hot topic of discussion. Repair shops and associations, as well as regular consumers, have been complaining for years that companies, including those outside of the tech industry, have been trying to monopolize repair operations. They do this by restricting access to parts and knowledge, as well as making their devices hard to repair on purpose. Apple famously designed proprietary screws and added software components checks to stop DIYers and repair shops from tinkering with their products.
The activists pushing the legislation, mainly backed by the Repair.org trade organization, are looking to get at least one such “right to repair” law passed. The hope is that companies will not want to deal with a myriad of varying laws so they’ll adopt a uniform policy around the country. This worked in the auto industry a number of years ago in a similar legislative push.
Nebraska will be holding its hearings on March 9th, while other states like New York, Illinois, Minnesota and others are still considering whether such legislation could be introduced.