Apple: we fix iPhones at a loss, Right to Repair proponents cry 'absurd!'


Say what you will about trends, but when they get to California, and the Silicon Valley in particular, the stakes usually get sky high, and last spring's electronics repair legislation proposal was no different. The California Right to Repair Act seeked to mandate Apple and other gadget makers, to make their repair manuals and guidelines available to everyone - from users, to small independent repair shops.

While the "Right to repair" movement was gaining steam here in the US, Apple wasn't sitting still, and argued that it will be consumers that will suffer in the end from unauthorized fixers with dubious aftermarket parts. The fight has been waged abroad as well, for the surprise of one Henrik Huseby, owner of a small unauthorized iPhone repair shops in the great country of Norway.

After getting a shipment of iPhone screens from Hong Kong seized at customs, he was contacted by Apple lawyers who tried to sweet talk him into signing an agreement not to use or distribute such parts any more. No passaran, said Mr Huseby, and, knowing the liberal Norwegian system, hired an attorney: "They threw all kinds of claims against me and told me the laws and acted so friendly and just wanted me to sign the letter so it would all be over. I had a good lawyer that completely understood the problem, did good research, and read the law correctly." Long story short, since the iPhone 6 and 6s displays in question were refurbished using genuine Apple parts from broken iPhones, the court sided with the repair shop owner, issuing the following statement:

Apple has been fighting those same small shops at home and abroad for a while, but back in August, it decided to preempt the legislation, and issued a press release announcing that more independent repair businesses will have access to the same genuine parts, tools and other resources as Apple Authorized Service Providers.

In a new twist on the matter, Apple claimed in a testimony before one Congressional judiciary committee in charge of investigating anti-competitive repair pratices that it is actually losing money on repairs, authorized monopoly or not:


Apple, IBM, Cisco and other tech giants have been fighting tooth and nail against the Right to Repair acts passage, as, they argue, they want to control the repair process to ensure safety and environmental compliance, and Apple listed an argument in that same vein during the committee hearing:


The Right to Repair Act proponents, however, beg to disagree, and say that in the last two decades manufacturers have monopolized repairs by withholding manuals, and introducing custom parts, down to the pentalobe screws that Apple uses in its iPhones. Needless to say, they issued their own statements over Apple's "money-losing" comments. As per Nathan Proctor, Director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair:


In addition, Mrs Gordon-Byrne, an executive director of the trade organization Repair.org, piled on that there are stipulation Apple scoffs at independent repair shops, and deliberately makes their lives harder:


The arguments seem to be far from over, and Apple may have to provide cold hard numbers to the oversight committee, demonstrating that even the official repairs are a money-losing aspect of its business, in order to deflect some of the Right to Repair heat away.

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17 Comments

1. sgodsell

Posts: 7566; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Apple is such a liar, and is hoping to con their gullible followers into believing such a lie. Anyone with half a brain knows that Apple is a big fat liar. I guess Apple hopes people will forget about Apple's extortion insurance. Sorry Apple calls it Apple Care, it's such a nicer name for what the rest of the world calls insurance. But putting that aside Apple has placed high prices on the parts as well. So clearly Apple is making money, hand over fist with both repairs, and their Apple Care. Poor, poor, Apple. Give us a break.

8. RevolutionA

Posts: 473; Member since: Sep 30, 2017

Hohoho... Stop there boy. Apple repairs stuff which are very expensive unlike others. Of course that may lead to loss and cost of repair go up. Glad they're holding that well being a huge company. Sammy charges crazy price for their crazy displays. Isn't that absurd?

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7566; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I hope you know that there is two parts to Apple's repairs. There is Apple Care or their insurance, and the actual repairs. How many people have bought into Apple's extortion insurance racket. Sorry, Apple Care? Plus out of the millions of people that bought it and never made an actual claim, then that is easy money for Apple, and didn't do a thing to get it. Sorry a sales rep probably said, want to get Apple Care, its really worth it, or else you will take it up the @$$ later. Or the sales rep said something else along that line. But clearly Apple Care (insurance) wasn't mentioned in this article at all, and that is a huge part of Apple's business that falls under the repair, and the services category. If anyone thinks Apple isn't making money from their repairs directly or indirectly is a complete iDiot.

2. Alcyone

Posts: 566; Member since: May 10, 2018

Apple defense forces assemble!

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7566; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

You've got to be kidding. Do you honestly believe Apple is repairing iPhones at a loss? What about the people who bought Apple's insurance (Care), and have never used it for any repairs? There is millions of people that have purchased it, and have made no claims. That's just easy money for Apple, for doing nothing.

7. Alcyone

Posts: 566; Member since: May 10, 2018

Sarcasm. Didn't know it needed to be spelled out.

9. mackan84

Posts: 631; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Don’t forget the cost for Apple when they need to repair all those f***-ups like MacBook keyboards (2016-2019) for free etc ;) I bet when the numbers come in those will be part of it.

3. User123456789

Posts: 1141; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

There are points I agree with, other I disagree. But something is fact, many repair shops do not use the official components. On internet there are tons of generic components like screens.

16. blastertoad

Posts: 50; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Correction, repair shops can't use official components as there are no suppliers for them. That is the issue. Regardless of price or profit parts should be available for any physical goods sold. This was mandated for automotive industry years ago and should be the same for all physical goods.

4. Cat97

Posts: 1976; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Put simply, Apple hates the fact that customers use their iPhones for like 5 years or so. They "lose money" because more and more customers offset Apple's high prices with holding on to their phones for longer.

6. Whitedot

Posts: 866; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

This " Apple wasn't sitting still, and argued that it will be consumers that will suffer in the end from unauthorised fixers with dubious aftermarket parts." It's not in Apple's right to prevent an owner to make his own decision, stop him/her from using 3rd party repair centres. It is entirely owner's responsibility. But what Apple does and will do is to punish those who do otherwise by limit software accessibility. This alone should be punishable. All Apple could do is just have some sort of warning, that's it. This two faced bully tactics should be killed off sooner than later.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31594; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apple builds iPhones for cheap, and sells them ridiculously high...they're not hurting. Just shut up n fix em. As magical and revolutionary as they are, they shouldn't be breaking anyway :/

11. Pabliell

Posts: 187; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

If Apple was ACTUALLY repairing their products, instead of replacing the insides, then maybe they could profit on it, just like plenty of repair shops do.

13. Vancetastic

Posts: 1752; Member since: May 17, 2017

The shareholders ain't gonna like this!

14. tedkord

Posts: 17463; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Apple considers anything less than a 200% markup as a loss. This reminds me of the used car salesman crying that he's taking a loss on the price he offered you.

15. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1276; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

WHAAAT??? Apple fix iPhones at loss, even after charging an arm and leg from their customers??? They must give parts and manual to other repair shops and totally avoid heavy losses... But anybody with SIX senses will never believe this lie of apple... All corporate are greedy, but APPLE IS THE GREAT GREAT KNIG OF ALL GREEDS...

17. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1346; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Is intentionally breaking or rendering your iPhone unusable or inoperable via a software update legal?

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