According to recent published internal e-mails, Apple has not always known what the public’s right to rectification policy should be. The discussion in 2019, provided to Congress for its antitrust investigation, highlights the company’s efforts to maintain coherence between government administrations amid stories covering the development of internal fixes that apparently open up the Apple repair ecosystem.
Email exchanges are part of the documentation issued by the Judicial Committee of the American House, which contains an antitrust investigation by Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook. The committee̵7;s first hearing on the subject took place yesterday at five o’clock with the CEOs of all the technology companies at a distance.
Lori Lodes, a former director of corporate communications, highlighted a number of incidents in an e-mail in which Apple apparently supports multiple repair options while opposing legislation in several countries.
“Right now, it’s quite clear that it’s happening in a vacuum and there’s no overall strategy,” Lodes wrote to former vice president of communications, Steve Dowling.
Apple’s policy is well known in the fix community. Independent providers have to pay to become “authorized service providers,” which was the only way to get genuine Apple replacement parts until last year. Independent stores are currently unable to obtain tools or components to solve all problems with Apple devices, only those that Apple specifically allows, such as screen and battery repairs. In response, law enforcement advocates are demanding state legislation that would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to publish manuals online, make tools available, and sell original parts.
Apple has argued that it is dangerous for people to open their electronics, it is difficult and security could be compromised if independent repairers have access to diagnostic tools.
This problem culminated on March 25, 2019, when two iMac manuals were made available online, which an independent iFixit employee noticed and asked for a comment. Lodes said the company’s environmental technology team handed over the documents and other people in the company wanted them downloaded. Lodes said she and the PR team think that Apple must “decide what our strategy is and take action against it.”
Finally, Lodes emphasized that the company would soon announce a home repair with a third-party repair shop.
“On the one hand, we are making these changes, and on the other, we are actively fighting for repair legislation that operates in 20 states without real coordination of how updated policies could be used to use our position,” Lodes said.
A few days after the first email, Lodes wrote that and New York Times reporter wawith the planning of an editorial board based on legislation on the right to rectification, cited by Apple as an example. The emails indicate a strong disagreement with how to respond.
“The big problem is that our strategy in this area is not clear,” wrote Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet. “Right now we’re talking from both sides of our mouths and no one is clear where we’re going.”
Apple’s repair policy is often described as the most aggressive in the industry because it involves physical mechanisms, such as patented screws and parts, to which only approved repairers have access.
Until now, repair attorneys have been happy to publish e-mails, seeing them as a sign that Apple may reconsider its strict approach to self-repair. “Public service manuals are useful for your customers,” wrote iFixit, a car repair company in the long run. “They are useful for recycling companies, they save the planet by extending the life of products and they are simply the right step. Do you want people to repair your products safely? Then teach them how to do it the right way. “