Samsung was also seen adhering to the latest French legislation.
Some positive measures have been taken by the right-to-repair campaign. In France, Apple and Samsung have recently started marking their devices with repairability ratings. Granted, this was important from the first of this year onwards. The two firms, however, which have criticised R2R laws in the past, have not protested about the new regulations.
Electronics manufacturers in France are now mandated by law to publish repairability scores for their products. On January 1, the law came into effect, but businesses have until next year before regulators start enforcing fines to enforce the regulation. The marks have already been advertised by Apple and Samsung on their websites (below) and in shops (bottom).
French media outlet Radio France Internationale notes that manufacturers are allowed to self-report their scores but are bound by strict guidelines. The ratings range from 1-10, with higher scores indicating the device is more readily repairable.
Things like ease of disassembly and availability of repair manuals or replacement parts factor into the scores. MacGeneration lists the five main judging criteria are as follows (translation via Google):
- the availability of documentation (for repair, use and maintenance as well as the period during which this information is made available);
- disassembly (how easily it is done, how easy it is to access parts, what tools are required, how the parts are fixed in the device);
- spare parts (period of availability and delivery times);
- the price of spare parts (compared to new);
- the available software updates, the offer of remote technical assistance free of charge and the possibility of resetting your device in a software way [sic].
For example, the iPhone 11 ranks a 4.5, while the iPhone 12 scored a solid 6.0. According to the detailed listings that Apple recently added to the French version of its support pages, the newer phones are more repairable because they are easier to take apart and because parts are less expensive.
Although the new law has not been commented on by either Apple or Samsung, it is fair to assume that they are probably not happy to have to list repairability scores, especially on products that are short in that region. In the past, Apple has been a strong critic of right-to-repair legislation, but more recently it has started to soften its stance. Fortunately, the regulations make it simple for computer manufacturers to boost a product’s rating.
For example, Le Monde reports that Samsung published a Galaxy S21 Plus repair guide online to boost its score. Since most companies already use them in-house, online manuals are a practically effortless way for OEMs to improve their products’ rankings. Making spare parts more readily available is another thing they can do without much hassle.
The entire idea behind the law is these seemingly little stuff. Instead of pressuring manufacturers to accept third-party fixes outright, as Apple and others have long opposed, policymakers have pressured them to compete on repairability, which they seem to be doing without complaint.
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