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Fixing an Xbox or Surface device is about to get much, much easier

Microsoft Surface and Xbox console users could soon have more options for fixing their expensive products, with the company committing to explore giving users the right to repair.

As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, Microsoft has agreed to look into how increasing the access to the parts and knowledge needed to properly repair products can help.

Currently, owners of products like the Surface Pro laptops can only be repaired by authorised service providers, which can be less convenient for users than using an independent technician, or repairing themselves without invalidating the device warranty.

Now, thanks to Microsoft’s own shareholders teaming up with the You Sow non-profit – which advocates for shareholders seeking to ensure corporations make changes for the greater good – Microsoft is responding positively, which is potentially great news for users.

This will eventually help users ensure their devices are repaired rather than replaced in many cases, which leads to more unnecessary electronic waste.

“This is an encouraging step by Microsoft to respond to the upswell of federal and state activity in the right to repair movement,” said Kelly McBee, waste program coordinator at As You Sow (via VICE). “Excitingly, this agreement will begin to allow consumers to repair their Microsoft devices outside the limited network of authorised repair shops.”

According to the press release issued on Thursday, Microsoft will now commit to:

  • Complete a third-party study evaluating the environmental and social impacts associated with increasing consumer access to repair and determine new mechanisms to increase access to repair, including for Surface devices and Xbox consoles;
  • Expand the availability of certain parts and repair documentation beyond Microsoft’s Authorised Service Provider network
  • Initiate new mechanisms to enable and facilitate local repair options for consumers.

It’s not clear whether any resolution will affect Microsoft’s policy in the UK as this seems US-centric for now, but we’ll see how this plays out.

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