President Biden takes credit for Microsoft pivoting its 'right to repair' stance

Surface Laptop Se Render
Surface Laptop Se Render (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and the "right to repair" movement have been at odds in the past since the former hasn't always made its products the easiest for users to fix themselves.
  • Microsoft recently changed its tune with a Surface Laptop SE repair video, wherein it showed how users can easily tinker with the device all by themselves.
  • Now, U.S. President Joe Biden is taking credit for spurring Redmond and its rivals to adopt a friendlier stance toward the notion of consumers having the right to repair their tech.

U.S. President Joe Biden is all aboard the right to repair train, based on his recent remarks regarding the state of consumers' license to tinker with their own tech. He claims his efforts are compelling companies such as Microsoft to embrace the "right to repair" philosophy as well.

You can see the most truncated variation of Biden's comments over on Twitter, wherein his account stated the following: "When you own a product, you should be able to repair it yourself. That's why I included support for the 'right to repair' in my Executive Order. Now, companies like Apple and Microsoft are changing their policies so folks will be able to repair their devices themselves."

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For context on the situation, consumers have been asking Microsoft to up its devices' user-tier repairability for a long time, and a recent shareholder representative resolution reinvigorated the debate. Surface devices and Xbox consoles haven't always made it easy for users to perform their own repairs, which is why the movement has kept fighting.

Now, it seems Microsoft, Apple, and others are changing their tunes, at least a little bit. Recently, Microsoft released a video showing how customers can replace certain parts of the Surface Laptop SE all by themselves. Microsoft and iFixIt also announced special tools to help repair modern Surface devices, letting third-party authorized repair shops service those PCs properly.

Based on Biden's comments, it sounds like his Executive Order and Microsoft's change of mood may not be unrelated events.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

5 Comments
  • Politics aside, with support from the President with a specific set of documents that can be referenced are important to the Right to Repair fights at State and Local levels. There have been few national politicians that have supported Right to Repair, and this brings it to everyone's attention to also start building national legislation. Once Right to Repair gets a foot hold in just one state, companies will be forced to comply, as that state can be used to order parts and bypass lockouts, etc. This is good for several industries that have been crippled by artificial repair limitations. PS I hope that this doesn't shift politically, as things have in the past when Democrats have voiced support, with Republicans taking the opposite position, even when they normally would agree.
  • I thought so as well.
  • Given the lead time in development, Biden taking credit for Microsoft's reparability is laughable. Nevertheless it's good to see a president involved in trying to set the tone. It's the falsely taking credit that's troublesome.
  • Biden taking credit is nothing new with his long history of plagiarism. Anyhow besides that he is only doing what was trending at the time, Trump had plans to push right to repair in 2020 but with covid and the garbage impeachments deferred it. The bigger difference was that Trump wanted to push it through Congress (the proper way) as a bill rather than through an Executive Order. Let that soke in for a moment.
  • Much of the basis of the right to repair movement started with agricultural equipment believe it or not, John Deere tractors to be precise. They made their onboard computers require special programming software only available at a dealer, even to replace parts the programmer was required to link up the serial numbers so the part would even work. This extended into the realm of tech by means of Apples business practices but here in the Midwest US the right to repair farm equipment is still the hot issue and it's nice to see some of these rights being given back to the average Joe. As a carpenter I've always been a big do it yourselfer, rebuilt my engine and transmission in my diesel pickup, built all my own desktop PCs, and of course do my own remodeling and construction projects. Only makes sense I should be able to work on my own Surface Pro 7.