The Right to Repair movement got state legislatures to consider more than a dozen Right to Repair bills last year, and have made great strides in the EU and elsewhere, but for every two steps forward they manage, they're forced a step or two back by giant corporate lobbyists, led by Apple, who want to ensure that third parties can't repair products, and that a manufacturer's decision it's time to retire a product from the market won't be challenged by independent repair depots.
Repair is a huge industry -- depending on how you measure it, it's between 1-4% of US GDP. And most of that business is done by mom-and-pop shops and medium-sized service depots.
That diffused market means that repair dollars stay in their communities, rather than being stashed overseas by tax-dodgers like Apple. But it also means that the companies who lose when Right to Repair is defeated have to overcome a lot of coordination costs to push back effectively.
All that is about to change: Allstate, a giant insurance company, has just acquired Icracked, a large phone repair chain (Allstate made the acquisition through its Squaretrade subsidiary, which offers third-party warranties on a variety of products).
Allstate has pledged to use its might to fight for Right to Repair, loaning R2R activists its state lobbyists to help see bills through.
Allstate, the fourth-largest insurance company in the country, is an ally the movement is happy to have.
"Right now, the struggle on right to repair is us Davids versus a whole slew of Goliaths,” Nathan Proctor, the Director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair at US PIRG told me in an email. “In the end, even if some larger companies support the right to repair, the reason will end up winning is because legislators hear from their constituents, if more Davids join in, and make their voices heard.”
Insurance Giant Allstate Buys Independent Phone Repair Company, Joins Right to Repair Movement [Matthew Gault/Motherboard]
I’d call it a spoiler, but you already know what’s coming: “As Seen On TV” garden gadgets are not much good, however ingenious they seem to be. Household Hacker picked up a few items and subjected them to tests. None were terrible or dangerous, but the gimmicks don’t really work — a trimmer that uses […]
The Inverter is a kickstarted, sub-$500, 34mm automatic mechanical watch built around Citizen's Miyota Calibre 9000 movement, augmented with a custom module that makes the watch run backwards, so that it can be mounted so that the movement is exposed (beneath a sapphire crystal), with the back of the watch becoming its "face."
Damon Beres notes that the situation with folding displays is quickly going to hell. Enter Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, a kind of metal and glass taco that could define a new category of personal device — provided the company can get the thing to work. Several tech writers accidentally broke the gadget’s foldable display shortly after receiving review […]
If you can build a cloud infrastructure, you can build a business. Companies are overwhelmingly turning to cloud computing to set up or bolster their network, and it’s easy to see why. It allows on-demand access to processing power, a la carte services, and nearly unlimited storage, all without adding extra systems and the maintenance […]
Does your gaming setup need an upgrade? No need to wait for Christmas. We’ve rounded up the latest tech accessories for your favorite video game platforms. All of them are already sale priced, but you can knock an additional 15% off the final price for Memorial Day by using the online code WEEKEND15. Audeze Mobius […]
Raspberry Pi is one of the world’s most versatile open-source computers. Alexa is a home automation hub with limitless potential. Together, they’re a dream team for ambitious makers, opening the door to everything from automatic lights to voice-controlled robots. Learning Raspberry Pi is meant to be relatively easy for newbies, but its applications with Alexa […]