Apple, opposing right-to-repair in Oregon, is playing both teams

Last year, hell froze over as Apple supported a (weak) right-to-repair law in California. This year, it thawed out. Apple is opposing a decent right-to-repair law in Oregon.

What is this? Cold feet? Waffling? Tech-flavored HyperNormalization?

Two words: parts pairing. As we've discussed: parts pairing involves using software to control how a device's components function. Companies use this strategy to maximize profits by ensuring that only (new) OEM replacement parts and authorized repair providers are used in repairs. By restricting access to cheaper aftermarket parts and even recycled or refurbished OEM parts, companies like Apple maintain a strangle hold over the repair process: forcing customers to purchase and use their higher-priced components and not-so-subtly nudging them to opt for replacing their broken device rather than repairing it.

Jack Monahan, Fight to Repair

While it might make sense if you're a profit-driven company to ensure the continued need for your customers to have their devices repaired exclusively by their manufacturer, no one likes it. Parts pairing is equally reviled by both parties, a unique olive branch in America's divided political climate. So what's Apple up to here?

Both outcomes boost revenue and profit margins. Companies with expensive and not-easily replaced products (here's looking at you John Deere) have seen the share of revenue from maintenance and repair balloon, even as their customers suffer under higher costs and a lack of market choice. Despite this outright contradiction, companies like Apple frequently cite safety and privacy concerns as justifications for their support of parts pairing. However, they have repeatedly failed to provide concrete evidence that third-party repair parts pose significant safety or privacy risks compared to their own authorized parts. Many repair technicians and third-party repair shops have successfully fixed devices using non-OEM parts without compromising safety or privacy, undercutting the argument that parts pairing is necessary for consumer protection.

Jack Monahan, Fight to Repair

I knew I never should have trusted you and your $4 trillion.

Previously: Apple supports California right-to-repair law