Microsoft’s More Repairable Surface

Microsoft has always been firm on its repair policies. However, the technology giant is considering supporting more research and procedures so that customers may more readily repair their devices like the Surface Pro 8 and other Windows tablets, after receiving pressure from an investors group.

In June 2021, Microsoft hosted an investor’s meeting with As You Sow, a nonprofit investor advocacy organization.

The conclusions of that meeting solidified Microsoft’s decision to investigate “environmental and social benefits” in order to make it easier for users to fix their own equipment. Making parts, information, and other resources more readily available to customers is an example of this.

This is the first time a US firm has agreed to such restrictions as a result of investor pressure, but it will not be the last if previous patterns are any indication.

Green Century Mutual Fund filed two right-to-repair motions in September, for example. The first was with Apple Inc., and the second was with Deere & Co., an agricultural equipment maker.

What does this signify?

Microsoft has pledged to examine the effects of the ‘right to repair’ on its climate change and electronic waste contributions, as well as social impacts and potential new mechanisms for increasing access to repair, according to a recent news release from As You Sow.

Microsoft will then be required to submit a summary of those results by May 2022 and implement them no later than the end of 2022.

Grist and Tom’s Hardware, a Microsoft spokesperson stated “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.”

It’s too soon to tell whether this implies that future Surface devices will be easier to upgrade, but it appears promising.

Because the Surface Pro 8 includes a user-replaceable solid-state drive (SSD), it should be another step in the right direction for Microsoft.