Apple’s Quiet War on Independent Repairmen

Apple’s Quiet War on Independent Repairmen. By Napoleon Linarthatos.

Right to Repair is a nationwide effort that aims to use legislation to return to consumers the choice of where and how to fix devices they own.

[YouTuber Louis Rossmann] argues that what is going on now would be unthinkable just a few decades back. Corporations back then respected the consumers’ right to fix their stuff. Schematics were widely available, you could buy them at the local electronics store, or contact the manufacturer to send them to you. Appliances, like refrigerators, often came with a set of schematics and instructions for how to fix them.

Apple tries to inculcate in the minds of its customers an assumption that devices should only be repaired by the corporation and its controlled network of authorized repair stores. …

Jessa Jones, owner of an independent repair service who lobbies for Right to Repair, testified in Boston that her group up to that point had fixed 30,000 devices, “less than 5 percent” of which “would be considered fixable by authorized repairs.”

Apple Inc. headquarters sign

Rossmann does not like Apple. Many of his videos are about how the company is screwing, ripping off, torturing, and generally abusing its customers. … What drives him nuts, he says, is when people pay for a device with a design flaw and are told at Apple’s Genius Bar that the problem is how they use that device. “Six months later a recall program would come out and they [customers] would bring it up [to Apple] and say can you fix this, sorry can’t. People would get screwed over and over again and still buy it.” …

A study from 2011 found “that customers who used independent auto repair shops spent about 24 percent less on repairs each year.” That very important price differential was achieved while the small repair shops faced substantial artificial barriers in doing business. In the tech realm, Apple uses its enormous financial heft as a purchaser of parts in order to force its suppliers in contracts that prohibit them from selling parts to independent repair stores. Rossmann has to get on Skype with people around the globe that specialize in part dumpster dives in order to find parts that suppliers are not permitted to sell him. At other times he has to buy a whole device only to retrieve a single chip out of it. One can only imagine the savings for the consumers if an open market were allowed to operate when it comes to parts, schematics, and diagrams. …

The show goes on to show the many ways that Apple impedes repairs. Special-made non-standard screws so the devices cannot be easily opened, gluing batteries that do not need to be glued in, and so on. Then there is the issue of planned obsolescence, where older iPhones become significantly slower after a system update. All to make independent repairs much more difficult; all to make the purchase of a new device the more practical option.

The size of a corporation like Apple allows it to shield itself from the consequences of the policies it advocates. Backing leftist policies at home while stashing the cash abroad allows for virtue signaling at the best possible side of the profit margin. …

Resisting the new digital serfdom of renters:

The right to repair is nothing more than the effort to reinstate the individual’s rights of ownership. It is a movement so contrary to the new subscription model of life, where you are always one payment away from losing it all.

An environment of centralized control, where everything is always supervised, curated and monitored by a managerial class increasingly skeptical of the individual will. We are being conditioned to a state of digital serfdom, as if it has been algorithmically dictated that individual choice and individuality are no more.

hat-tip Stephen Neil