Apple was called out in a U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report for its alleged “anti-competitive repair restrictions” that stifle independent repair businesses from fixing its devices, 9to5Mac reported.
The FTC said in its report that repair restrictions have a negative effect on small businesses as well as consumers. The agency is calling for the enforcement of laws already on the books and for the addition and implementation of new mandates.
The report indicates that repair businesses can’t compete when companies develop products that are not easily remedied or flat-out can’t economically be fixed. Consumers are also disadvantaged because lack of choice can inflate repair prices to a point where it doesn’t economically add up.
By way of example, Apple has strict requirements for any independent computer repair shop looking to work on MacBooks, iPhones and other Apple devices. Repair technicians could be faced with random audits and inspections by Apple for up to five years, the news outlet reported.
Further, Apple’s service manuals are not easily obtained and when remedies for issues are shared online, the company has a history of crying foul over copyright infringement. Battery replacement for iPhones has also been an issue and has caused people to buy a new device rather than attempt to replace an expensive battery, per the report.
Aside from being cost-prohibitive, Apple’s repair conventions are also bad for the environment and the company’s practice of integrating components to the logic board adds to the cost of a repair or makes it not practical to consider.
Apple has been under fire in the courts in the U.S. and abroad, with an antitrust trial last month attended by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney stemming from an incident in 2020 regarding Apple’s App Store 30 percent fees.
The antitrust suit brought by the European Union comes from Spotify’s complaints about Apple’s App Store policies. The suit alleges the tech giant has abused its power as the “gatekeeper” of smartphone and tablet apps.