Apple doesn’t always know what public position it should take on the right repair policies and legislation, according to recently published internal emails. The 2019 discussion, provided to Congress for its antitrust investigation, highlights the Apple PR team’s struggle to maintain cohesive public messages amid stories covering internal repair developments that seemingly open up the ecosystem of Apple Repair
The email exchanges are part of a number of documents published by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee surrounding its antitrust investigation into Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. The first meeting of the committee on the subject took place more than five hours yesterday with the Chief Executive of all technology companies calling remotely.
In one email, Lori Lodes, a former director of corporate communications, highlighted multiple incidents where Apple apparently supports more repair options while at the same time opposing legislation in multiple states.
“Right now, pretty clear things are happening in a vacuum and there’s no overall strategy,” Lodes wrote to former communications VP Steve Dowling.
Apple’s policies are notorious within the repair community. Independent providers have to pay to become “authorized service providers,” which until last year, was the only way to receive genuine parts from Apple. Even now, independent stores can’t get the tools or parts to fix all the problems with apple devices, only the ones that Apple specifically allows, such as screen and batteries. In response, attorneys for the right repair want state legislation that would require Apple and other electronics makers to put the manuals online, make the tools available and sell genuine parts.
Apple has argued that it is dangerous for people to open their electronics, it is difficult, and security could be compromised if independent repair shops have access to diagnostic tools.
The issue came to a head on March 25, 2019, when two iMac manuals were posted online, from which a freelancer for iFixit was spotted and searched for a comment. Lodes said the company’s environmental technology team uploaded these documents, and other people at the company wanted them removed. Lodes said she and the PR team think Apple needs to make a “decision on what our strategy is and execute against that direction.”
Finally, Lodes stressed that the company will soon announce a home repair service with a third-party repair service.
“With one hand we are making these changes and with the other we are actively fighting the Right to Repair legislation moving in 20 states without real coordination for the way the updated policies can be used to use our position, “Lodes noted.
A few days after that first email, Lodes wrote that a New York Times reporter waIt plans an editorial board to work on right repair legislation and cite Apple as an example. Emails show significant disagreement over how to react.
“The biggest issue is that our strategy for all of this is unclear,” wrote Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “We are currently talking from both sides of our mouths and no one is clear on where we are headed.”
Apple’s repair policy is often seen as the most aggressive with its inclusion of physical mechanisms such as proprietary screws and parts that only approved repair shops can access.
So far, the right-of-repair attorneys have welcomed the release of the emails, taking a signal that Apple may reconsider its strict position on self-repair. “Public service manuals are helpful for your customers,” wrote the iFixit self-repair group in a long post. “They are useful for recyclers, save the planet by extending the life of the product and are simply the best thing to do. Do you want people to repair your products safely? Then teach them how to do it. in the right way. “