What you need to know
- President Biden is expected to direct the FTC to create new 'Right to Repair' rules in the country.
- The rules could impact Apple's ability to restrict repairability on its devices.
U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to direct the United States Federal Trade Commission to create new 'Right to Repair' rules that could impact companies like Apple.
As reported by Bloomberg, the order is expected to include "mobile phone manufacturers." If included, Apple may need to open more repair options to both third-party repair shops and customers themselves.
While the agency will ultimately decide the size and scope of the order, the presidential right-to-repair directive is expected to mention mobile phone manufacturers and Department of Defense contractors as possible areas for regulation. Tech companies including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have imposed limits on who can repair broken consumer electronics like game consoles and mobile phones, which consumer advocates say increases repair costs.
The directive from the President will come in the form of an executive order that is anticipated to be similar to 'Right to Repair' rules in the European Union.
The executive order, which is expected to be released in the coming days, is broadly designed to drive "greater competition in the economy, in service of lower prices for American families and higher wages for American workers," White House economic adviser Brian Deese said Friday.
The Biden Administration effort comes as the European Commission has also announced plans for new right-to-repair rules that would govern smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Environmental activists have said that restrictions on repairs encourage waste by making consumers more likely to throw out damaged items because of the high cost of repair.
While Apple has pushed back against Right to Repair in the past, the company has more recently opened up repairs to more providers and provided more documentation and official parts to repair shops. The company has maintained certain restrictions, however, citing consumer safety.