July is Right to Repair Awareness Month. Depending on your interests, that term could bring any number of consumer products to mind, from agriculture equipment to smart devices.
But Right to Repair is also a concern for corporate consumers. And it will only become more prominent as companies find ways to optimize their existing systems rather than sending more hardware into landfills.
Origina is a proud champion of the Right to Repair cause. In honor of Right to Repair month, here is a rundown of the topic and the various ways it intersects with third-party software maintenance (TPSM).
When an OEM’s software decisions force corporate partners to retire hardware early, everyone but the megavendor loses. The problem is as commonplace as the nearest ATM, and it runs all the way to factory production floors – anywhere companies or their customers don’t need bleeding edge features to carry out a useful task.
Scaled over a global economy, this basic fact of business has packed e-waste landfills – did you know a pound of electronic waste contains more gold than a pound of gold ore? – and left companies scrambling to make purchases that directly contradict their roadmap planning and alignment goals.
The Right to Repair concept has been part of the public discourse in some form dating back to before the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, when terms like “digital era” didn’t even exist.
Of course, Magnuson-Moss doesn’t apply in the B2B context. And while they’re typically less likely to bang the legal drum in the optics-obsessed consumer world, megavendors have been known to leverage IP and antitrust laws in a way that makes it difficult for B2B customers to make the best use of the hardware and software they purchase.
In some ways, it could be said that corporate consumers have even fewer Right to Repair protections than B2C customers.
As a provider of TPSM services, we get great insight into the tactics software megavendor use to keep companies – across all industries – buying products and subsequently stuffing landfills.
These tactics have become deeply ingrained in our purchasing habits as corporate citizens. And as Free ICT Europe Foundation Executive Director Jan Hoogstrate says, stopping the madness is as simple as asking: Why should I replace the software and hardware in my IT estate when repair is almost always an option?
As our Founder and CEO Tomás O’Leary says in the podcast, the licensing and legal landscape surrounding Right to Repair make it a difficult topic to approach from the B2B perspective. But difficult is not impossible.
For companies looking to understand the business realities of Right to Repair, engaging with the Free ICT Europe Foundation and Free ICT USA can help explain the current issues. It also helps to have passion for the cause behind the scenes. At Origina, our Founder Tomás O’Leary also sits as President of Free ICT Europe Foundation, and our COO, Shannon Mahaffey, acts as a board member for Free ICT USA. Seek staff with a similar drive at your place of employment, and you’ll be a step closer to championing Right to Repair as a responsible corporate citizen.
Imagine our planet not as a planet at all, but as a spaceship. We’re all crew members, and we’re responsible for keeping the craft we operate together as tidy – and livable for the next generation – as we can.
That’s the top-level message Origina partner This Spaceship Earth presses, and it ties directly to the corporate world’s need for stronger Right to Repair recognition. More hardware purchased means more gold mined, for just one of countless examples.
The Right to Repair doesn’t stop at the cracked phone in your junk drawer. Whether you’re a corporate buyer or an individual consumer, you should have the right to keep using the products you purchased.
While the consumer battles continue to dominate headlines, courtrooms, and legislative chambers around the world, it’s important that corporations have a say in this game, too. It’s all our responsibility to do business in a way that leaves minimal impact on the environment.
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