Microsoft has broadened its Surface spare parts program by integrating with popular component retailer and how-to platform iFixit. Initially, the program was launched to sell select components through Microsoft's own store to skilled users for Do-it-Yourself repairs. The program was initially only limited to a few countries, including the USA, Canada, and France.
iFixit Sells Parts for 13 Microsoft Surface Models
The collaboration with iFixit introduces the provision of Surface parts at a dedicated Microsoft Repair Hub. iFixit currently retails parts for about thirteen Surface models. Microsoft already sells Surface parts on the official Microsoft Store. The Surface Pro 7, for instance, only has a single spare part available – the kickstand, which is essentially an oblong slab of metal.
The Surface Pro 9, an year-old device, however, boasts the most extensive list of replacements, including the kickstand, display, removable solid-state drive, battery, Surface connect charging port, back cover, speakers, thermal module, front and rear cameras, the camera and Wi-Fi deck, power and volume button, motherboard, and Solid State Drive (SSD) door.
Replacement displays are available for eleven Surface models, rubber feet for seven, and motherboards for merely four. While the Microsoft Repair Hub link appears only on iFixit's US site, shipping can be arranged to approximately 30 nations. Nevertheless, stock levels seem to be quite low indicating the program is still in its early stages.
Repairability Policies Aimed at Sustainability and DIY Repairs
Microsoft's venture with iFixit marks a precedent for an approach more accessible than the company's previous attempts and it indicates a significant improvement in its repairability policies. The action follows similar decisions by other hardware vendors, including Apple, which recently endorsed the right to repair its devices in the USA and made promises to provide more parts and tools.
The shift toward repairability is driven, to a considerable extent, by new laws promoting the right to DIY, thus incentivizing hardware vendors to improve their policies. Despite these steps, a large portion of hardware remains unsupported, with manufacturers like Apple and Cisco choosing to end support for some of their older devices, instead of addressing known security issues. But as sustainability remains on the agenda for these companies, the move toward repairability is a step in the right direction.
Right to Repair and Microsoft's History with iFixit
Back in October 2021, Microsoft made a commitment to make Surface devices more repairable. As part of the Right to Repair initiative, the company has released tools with iFixit to help self-repair and will allow third-party locations to fix hardware.
Microsoft and iFixit have a long history, mostly revolving around the latter criticizing Surface models for how hard they are to repair. Across devices, iFixit has scored Microsoft Surface products 0 and 1 out of 10 with descriptions such as “nearly impossible to repair” and “nearly unfixable”.