President Joe Biden highlighted the necessity of the right to repair devices in remarks at the White House on Jan. 24.
“Denying the right to repair raises prices for consumers, means independent repair shops can’t compete for your business,” he said, noting one of his earlier executive orders in support of the right to repair.
Shortly after his executive order, the Federal Trade Commission announced it would ramp up enforcement against illegal repair restrictions, Biden noted, as more people need the “freedom to choose how or where to repair that item you purchased.”
In his remarks, which were made to reporters just before a meeting of White House Competition Council, Biden said that major companies started to voluntarily change their restrictions on repairs, specifically mentioning Apple and Microsoft. However, both companies also faced consumer and investor pressure to change immediately before their announcements.
Apple on Nov. 17 announced its Self Service Repair program, after activist shareholder Green Century Capital Management filed a shareholder resolution in September urging the company to change its product repair policies. Following Apple’s announcement, Green Century Capital Management withdrew its resolution, which Apple had initially sought to block a vote on.
Microsoft also faced a similar shareholder resolution. In October, the company said it would expand its existing repair options, prompting shareholder activist organization As You Sow to withdraw its resolution.
“It’s going to make it easier for millions of Americans to repair their electronics instead of paying an arm and a leg to repair or just throwing the device out,” Biden said.
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