Date: 
March 13, 2013
Author: 
Tomás O'Leary
Date: 
3.13.2013
Author: 
Tomás O'Leary
Date: 
3.13.2013
Author: 
Tomás O'Leary

For many IT Leaders in large organisations the Service Industry Association’s (SIA) campaign for The Digital Right to Repair might seem like a minor consumer issue. But it is not. The success of this initiative is just as important to CIO’s and IT Managers facing the challenge of cost effectively maintaining legacy IT equipment and systems.

At stake here is the key issue of the buyers’ rights over the purchased product, irrespective of whether that buyer is a consumer or business customer. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) typically generate disproportionately high profits from maintenance, service and repairs to equipment. The concern is that OEMs could become increasingly protective of these revenues by adopting anti-competitive practices to ‘lock-in’ previous customers to OEM service contracts. If that restrictive practice were to occur, OEM’s could progressively increase charges on legacy equipment. The implications for the constrained IT budget would be severe.

We have already seen restrictive practices in the IT market, where an OEM attempted to restrict access to a library of hardware-code corrections (patches). This issue was brought before The Court of Justice of the European Union (the Supreme Court of the EU) in case C-128/11, where the ruling was:

“Even if the maintenance agreement is for a limited period, the functionalities corrected, altered or added on the basis of such an agreement form an integral part of the copy originally downloaded and can be used by the customer for an unlimited period.”

This effectively enshrined in EU law the right of customer access and use the fixes/patches.

At Origina, we believe every IT leader should support the Digital Right to Repair campaign. It is only fair that end users of legacy IT equipment should have the freedom to choose their maintenance service provider based on the quality of service and price.

For many IT Leaders in large organisations the Service Industry Association’s (SIA) campaign for The Digital Right to Repair might seem like a minor consumer issue. But it is not. The success of this initiative is just as important to CIO’s and IT Managers facing the challenge of cost effectively maintaining legacy IT equipment and systems.

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