Apple officially endorsed Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman's Right to Repair Bill in California, according to iFixit. Reuters says the tech giant even sent legislators in the state a letter, urging them to pass Senate Bill 244, which requires companies to provide consumers and third-party providers the repair diagnostics and parts needed to be able to repair their products. iFixit's CEO Kyle Wiens called Apple's endorsement "a watershed moment for consumer rights." He said it "feels like the Berlin Wall of tech repair monopolies is starting to crumble, brick by brick," because the bill's passing could lead to a more competitive market offering cheaper repairs.
If SB 244 becomes a law, the parts, tools and documentations needed to repair products that cost between $50 and $100 will have to be available in the state for three years after the last date they were manufactured. Meanwhile, repair materials for products over $100 will have to be available for seven years. With those rules in place, manufacturers can't refuse to make information or components available after people's warranty periods are over. Companies violating the law will be fined $1000 per day for their first violation, $2000 for their second and $5000 per day for more violations after that.
As iFixit notes, Apple has had a long history of opposing Right to Repair rules and previously said that Nebraska would become a "mecca for hackers" when a bill was introduced in the state. Over the past few years, though, the tech giant has been showing signs of a change of heart. In 2021, Apple announced that it would start selling parts and tools directly to consumers and even offer repair guides to help them fix their iPhones and Macs on their own. "We support 'SB 244' because it includes requirements that protect individual users' safety and security as well as product manufacturers' intellectual property," Apple reportedly wrote in its letter.
Whether Apple's endorsement can finally give the bill the support it needs to be approved remains to be seen. Eggman introduced the Right to Repair Act in California way back in 2018, but the bill was only able to amass significant backing this year. The Senate unanimously passed the bill, which will have its final hearing next week. After that, it will have to go to the floor and be approved for the final time by legislators before the governor can sign it into law.