Apple, Microsoft, and Google all receive poor grades on repairability report card

Apple MacBook Air
 Laptops and smartphones made by Apple, Microsoft, and Google are considerably less repair-friendly than those made by competitors Asus, Dell, and Motorola, according to a new report. These findings may be unsurprising to people who like to fix gadgets, but the data to back them up comes from an unusual source: the companies themselves.

The report, released today by the US Public Research Interest Group’s Education Fund, draws on data companies are now releasing in France to comply with the government’s world-first “repairability index” law, which went into effect last year. The law requires manufacturers of certain electronic devices, including cell phones and laptops, to score each of their products based on how easily repairable it is and make that score, along with the data that went into it, available to consumers at point-of-sale.

To make that information more accessible to Americans, US PIRG, with assistance from the repair guide site iFixit, compiled French repair scores for 187 laptops and phones produced by 10 major US manufacturers. Rather than simply regurgitate the French scores in English, US PIRG, which runs a right-to-repair advocacy campaign, decided to augment them by penalizing companies that fight against legislation that would facilitate independent repair. The result is a hybrid score that shows how fixable companies’ products are and whether the company is actively opposing consumers’ right to fix them.

“If a company actively lobbies, or is part of a coalition lobbying effort, to prevent access to parts, service information and repair tools, that indicates a hostile attitude toward repair choice,” report author Nathan Proctor, who leads US PIRG’s right-to-repair campaign, tells The Verge. “If you want to ensure your product is fixable now and into the future, you should consider the manufacturer’s approach to the repair ecosystem.”

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