Google formally endorsed the concept of right to repair Thursday and is set to testify in favor of a strong right to repair bill in Oregon later Thursday, a massive step forward for the right to repair movement.
“Google believes that users should have more control over repair—including access to the same documentation, parts and tools that original equipment manufacturer (OEM) repair channels have—which is often referred to as ‘Right to Repair,’” Google’s Steven Nickel wrote in a white paper published Thursday.
Crucially, Google specifically says that regulators should ban “parts pairing,” which is a tactic used by Apple, John Deere, and other major manufacturers to artificially restrict which repair parts can be used with a given device: “Policies should constrain OEMs from imposing unfair anti-repair practices. For example, parts-pairing, the practice of using software barriers to obstruct consumers and independent repair shops from replacing components, or other restrictive impediments to repair should be discouraged,” the white paper says.
Nickel is set to testify at a hearing in Oregon on the state’s right to repair bill later Thursday. The endorsement of right to repair across the board from one of the largest companies in the world is huge for the grassroots movement to make it easier for consumers to fix the devices they own. The move follows Apple’s endorsement of right to repair in California last year. The difference is that Apple does not want to restrict parts pairing, which functionally allows the company to maintain a huge amount of control over which types of repairs can be done to iPhones and other Apple devices. Both companies, through huge lobbying groups like the Consumer Technology Association, had previously lobbied against right to repair.