Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft continue to develop products with non-standard parts, making it difficult for consumers and third-party repair technicians to repair them. The CEO and founder of iFixit didn’t hold back in calling out these tech giants for continuing to engage in such activities.
Repairability and Durability were two major factors influencing purchasing decisions, said iFixit’s Head
Kyle Wiens blasted Samsung first during the Productivity Commission’s virtual right to repair public hearing on Monday, claiming that the Korean company had an agreement in place that prevented third-party repair firms like iFixit from going out and purchasing parts to service such devices.
“We’ve seen manufacturers restrict our ability to buy parts. There’s a German battery manufacturer named Varta that sells batteries to a wide variety of companies. Samsung happens to use these batteries in their Galaxy earbuds … but when we go to Varta and say can we buy that part as a repair part, they’ll say ‘No, our contract with Samsung will not allow us to sell that’. We’re seeing that increasingly.”
Wiens also criticized Apple for using different parts than the rest of the industry, claiming that this is done solely to prevent third-party repairs, allowing the business to benefit from its own services.
“Apple is notorious for doing this with the chips in their computers. There’s a particular charging chip on the MacBook Pro … there is a standard version of the part and then there’s the Apple version of the part that sits very slightly tweaked, but it’s tweaked enough that it’s only required to work in this computer, and that company again is under contractual requirement with Apple.”
Wiens commented on the Surface laptop’s lack of repairability, which has been a source of criticism for Microsoft. It received a 0 out of 10 repairability rating from iFixit, with 0 being the least repairable. The laptop had a glued-in battery, and iFixit’s disassembly experts had to practically cut through regions of the laptop to get to them, which meant damaging some parts of the laptop that could not be fixed again.
Wiens, a strong supporter of the right to repair, claims that consumers make purchasing decisions based on the product’s longevity and repairability. While firms like Apple have earned large profits by offering customers high-quality items and near-perfect after-sales services, securing repairs is an issue that must be addressed.
Check out ZDNet’s coverage for the full conversation, and let us know whether you agree with Wiens’ claims in the comments.