The Right to Repair Movement began in 2013-14 when several OEMs began to announce that firmware patches would no longer be available (for “select” products) when/if the rightful owner of the hardware ever moved hardware support agreements to an independent hardware maintenance provider. This “Third Party Maintenance (as referenced by Gartner)” industry support post-warranty, End-of-Life, End-of-Support and End-of-Software-Maintenance hardware for enterprise IT departments so that they don’t have to be cornered by post-warranty pricing increases – which are almost always one component of a tech refresh sales strategy.
Firmware and microcode patches were the primary issue in those early days, when parts/spares could easily be sourced and tested from the independent hardware reseller market. But, one of the networking OEMs has deployed another restrictive policy and created an entitlements issue for those savvy enough to improve hardware lifecycle management best practices.
These enterprise IT clients and their independent maintenance providers were originally NOT seeking firmware patches which introduced new features – only security patches. As the rightful owner of rightfully purchased hardware, it’s simply amazing corporate legal teams were unable to effectively counter these evolving and hurtful policies.
When you think of your smartphone (as an example of an electronic device with software patches and needed parts), is it not unbelievable that all are forced into a refresh every two years? Consumers and businesses alike are blindly buying into and accepting a “tech refresh treadmill” that costs dearly and negatively impacts global e-waste.
Now known as the Repair Association, this rapidly growing group of consumers and businesses (including enterprise IT) are actively pursuing Right to Repair Legislation in more than 20 states.
Two members of the XSi executive team were founding members of the Right to Repair Coalition, while XSi’s founder continues to serve on its board of directors.
In the coming years, XSi believes that several states will enact Right to Repair legislation, causing more and more states to follow until there is greater attention at the federal level. But, important or logical change must begin with each of us.