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BOSTON -- Apple announced Wednesday that more than 140 companies are joining with 700 or so locations in its Independent Repair Provider (IRP) program. These shops, unlike most repair shops, will be permitted to purchase Apple parts and service tools.
In Apple’s news release, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said, “We are thrilled to expand our independent repair program …” However, Apple has a lengthy track record of lobbying against Right to Repair reforms, which would have compel Apple to sell parts and other repair resources.
In response to this announcement, U.S. PIRG Right to Repair Campaign Director, Nathan Proctor, issued this statement:
“We welcome expanded repair options for Apple devices, but adding 140 new ‘Independent Repair Providers’ is nothing to take a victory lap over.
“This move does highlight a few things. The first is that Apple could have been doing this all along, despite claims from industry lobbyists that access to parts and service information would lead to cybersecurity problems or dangerous products. The second is that the low number of new providers is proof that we need a bigger solution for consumers. There are 180,000 independent repair businesses for our cars. At 140 new providers per year, it would take more than a thousand years to match that total. The solution is an open market for repair, and if manufacturers won’t provide that, we must pass Right to Repair legislation to compel them to.”
Apple’s IRP Program has also come under criticism due to the lengthy contracts that participating businesses are required to sign. Legal experts have described the contract as “very onerous.”
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