Microsoft Partners with iFixit on Surface Device Repairs
iFixit lobbies for 'right to repair' laws.
Microsoft announced on Thursday that iFixit is now offering replacement parts for Microsoft Surface devices.
iFixit is a San Luis Obispo, Calif.-based organization that performs device "tear downs" and produces repair manuals. It also describes itself as a community of "tinkerers, technicians and volunteers." It's been a leader as well in the "right to repair" legal lobbying effort.
Microsoft currently offers some replacement parts from its Microsoft Store for use in out-of-warranty Surface device repairs. Surface parts also are available from some Microsoft reseller partners. Per the announcement, "iFixit will offer the entire suite of repairable components to technically inclined consumers for out-of-warranty" repairs, along with Surface repair guides, videos and tools.
Right now, the extent of parts offered by Microsoft for out-of-warranty Surface device repairs is rather uneven, as illustrated in this Microsoft support article. For instance, individuals or organizations wanting to repair the Surface Pro 7 just have the kickstand as the sole part provided by Microsoft. Other Surface devices, such as the Surface Pro 9, give access to multiple replacement parts, such as the touch display, USB-C port, speaker and Wi-Fi modules, cameras, solid-state drive and battery.
Microsoft's partnership with iFixit is notable because iFixit has been lobbying for U.S. states to pass right to repair laws. California recently became the third U.S. state to pass such a law, following laws passed by Minnesota and New York. Governor Gavin Newsom signed California's SB-244 Right to Repair Act on Oct. 10, 2023, as noted by this iFixit announcement.
California's right to repair law will become operative on July 1, 2024 for electronic devices and appliances, with the exception of alarm systems and video game consoles. Per iFixit's view, medical devices also are exempt from the California law.
Under this law, manufacturers of devices within the $50 to under $100 price range need to have parts, tools, software and documentation available for three years. Manufacturers of devices priced greater than $100 will need to make those components and manuals available for seven years. The law applies to products that were "manufactured for the first time, and first sold or used in California, on or after July 1, 2021."
It's not clear if manufacturers have to offer all parts, although a California Senate Floor analysis suggested that manufacturers would have to supply "all functional parts and tools, inclusive of any updates" per this law.
SB-244 passed overwhelmingly in California's Senate and Assembly houses. The bill was opposed by organizations such as the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, CTIA, the Information Technology Industry Council, PRBA - the Rechargeable Battery Association and the Telecommunications Industry Association, among others.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.