The new partnership will make it easier to fix Microsoft Surface devices, which can only be a good thing for consumers.
Microsoft and iFixit have announced a new partnership that will make it easier for technicians to fix Microsoft Surface devices. The new partnership will allow technicians access to a wider range of Microsoft’s official tools, available through iFixit.
Opening up the range of tools available to independent repairers will help to reduce the number of Surface devices that hit the rubbish heap after sustaining damage or other issues, and is another step forward for Microsoft alongside the right to repair movement.
Why Microsoft’s iFixit Partnership Is Important for the Right to Repair
Speaking on the official iFixit blog, iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens said:
Microsoft has taken a big step toward making repair accessible to their customers, and their timing is perfect as Right to Repair gains momentum across the US. Having OEM tools available will give repair technicians the ability to help their customers keep their devices alive for longer.
The idea is that getting better tools into the hands of technicians will mean fewer devices being scrapped, and more devices being fixed. One of the biggest issues hardware technicians face is a lack of OEM tools (that is, tools straight from the manufacturer that match a specific device). When manufacturers use unique or proprietary tech in their manufacturing process, it makes fixing devices difficult.
Often, technicians and repair shops have to wait for special hardware to hit the shelves, or head to third-party outlets that might not always deliver the best tool for the job (or even have no option to fix a device at all).
Increasingly, tech companies are sitting up and taking notice. Consumers don’t want to have to bin their expensive hardware because something basic broke, yet it will cost more than the device is worth fixing due to restrictive manufacturing, lack of access to proper tools, and difficulty sourcing parts.
So, Microsoft and iFixit’s partnership is putting three new tools onto the market for technicians;
- Surface Display Bonding Frame: Available for the Surface Pro 7, Pro 8, and Pro X. Will enable technicians to properly rebond hardware after removing adhesive to access internal components.
- Surface Battery Cover: Available for the Surface Laptop 3, 4, Go, SE, and Studio. The Battery Cover is placed over the motherboard and other sensitive components to protect them during other fixes.
- Surface Display Debonding Tool: Available for the Surface Pro 7+, Pro 8, and Pro X. Used to separate Surface screen assembly from the device without damaging other components (or indeed, the screen itself).
It is important to note that these three new tools are only available to those using iFixit Pro, for which there is a sign-up and inquiry form that you must fill in. Not all iFixit users are eligible for iFixit Pro.
Microsoft Is Serious About the Right to Repair
It has taken some time for Microsoft to come around to the right to repair. As recently as May 2021, Microsoft was linked with anti-right to repair lawsuits, typically led by other tech giants such as Apple and Google.
But in a change of tact, Microsoft announced that it would commit to the right to repair, becoming one of the first major tech companies to do so. Its commitment to pushing to right to repair hasn’t gone unnoticed either, with many analysts and commentators noting how important it is for a tech giant like Microsoft to at least begin to take responsibility for the billions of devices it manufacturers each year.
Microsoft’s decision to provide tools to independent technicians is a step in the right direction. Like many companies, they still have a long way to go on their repairability journey, and we’re excited to join them. This is a great first step, and a test of the market—we hope to offer these same tools to the rest of the repair community in the future, and Microsoft is committed to expanding access to repair tools for new products over the next year.
It’s small steps forwards in the right to repair, but they’ll lead to important strides.
When old technology broke, you could fix yourself. If that failed, you could find a repair shop. With newer products, those options are disappearing. Let’s talk about the importance of the Right to Repair.
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