Microsoft has announced the availability of replacement parts for its Surface devices in the Microsoft Store, marking a significant step towards improving the repairability of its products. The move is part of a larger initiative to increase repair options for customers and design products that are easier to repair.
Improved Availability Microsoft Surface Repair Parts
The Microsoft Surface line, known for its solid hardware and aesthetics, has not always been associated with repairability. This latest offering aims to change that, with repair parts for tablets and laptops now available directly from Microsoft. The parts on offer focus on the most commonly broken or worn-out components, such as screens, batteries, I/O ports, and keyboards. More advanced components, like a full fan and heat pipe assembly, are also available.
Tim McGuiggan, Microsoft's VP of Devices Services and Product Engineering, stated in the official announcement, “While we have always offered world-class warranty and repair services via Microsoft support, we have been working to increase repair options by designing products that are easier to repair and by expanding our network of Authorized Service Providers.”
He further added, “As part of this larger initiative, we are excited to offer replacement components to technically inclined consumers for out-of-warranty, self repair.” He emphasized the importance of following the instructions in the applicable Microsoft Service Guide or article when performing repairs.
Expanding the DIY Repair Market
Microsoft's move aligns with a growing trend among electronics makers to embrace DIY and right-to-repair enthusiasts. Companies like Logitech, Samsung, and Google have partnered with iFixit to sell repair parts and kits directly to consumers. Apple has also created a Self Service Repair program that supplies tools and components for some common repairs.
A Range of Replacement Parts
Replacement parts are available for a wide range of Surface devices. In the Surface Pro lineup, the Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro 8, Surface Pro 9, and Surface Pro 9 with 5G are all supported. For the Surface Laptop line, parts are available for models from the Surface Laptop 3 to the latest model, the Surface Laptop 5. The Surface Laptop Go 2, Surface Laptop Studio, and Surface Studio 2+ are also supported.
The availability of parts depends on the model of the device. For instance, Surface Pro 7 users can only buy a replacement kickstand for their device. However, if you have a Surface Pro 9, you can find a display, USB-C ports, cameras, speakers, and much more. Generally speaking, the latest models have a lot more replacement parts available.
Replacement components are initially available for purchase through the Microsoft Store in the United States, Canada, and France. Commercial resellers in all Surface markets will have access through existing channels. When it happens, Microsoft has promised to share news of any expansion to additional markets.
Microsoft's Journey Towards Repairability
Microsoft's journey towards improving the repairability of its Surface devices has been a gradual process. In September 2021, Microsoft expanded the availability of Surface components for self-repair services. This move was seen as a step towards embracing the right-to-repair movement, which advocates for consumers' ability to repair their own devices.
A month later, in October 2021, Microsoft made a commitment to make Surface devices more repairable. This commitment was part of the Right to Repair initiative, which aimed to provide consumers with the tools and resources needed to repair their own devices. Microsoft partnered with iFixit to release tools for self-repair and allowed third-party locations to fix hardware.
Right to Repair and Environmental Impact
In May 2022, Microsoft published the results of an independent study assessing the environmental impact of the Right to Repair initiative. The study, carried out by Oakdene Hollins, found that repairing a device has a positive impact on the environment compared to replacing it. Specifically, every form of repair provided drastic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and waste reductions compared to replacement programs.
The study showed that repairing the product instead of device replacement can yield up to a 92% reduction in potential waste generation and GHG emissions. It also highlighted that more than 20% of the net sustainability benefits of repair are determined by the transportation method and logistics for delivering devices to repair facilities.
Microsoft's Commitment to Sustainability
Following the study, Microsoft made a commitment to implement the findings across the Surface division. This marked a significant shift in Microsoft's stance, as the company had been resistant to the Right to Repair idea just a year ago. The commitment to implement the findings of the study shows Microsoft's dedication to sustainability and its willingness to adapt its practices to benefit the environment.