An insurance giant is now ‘right to repair’ movement’s big weapon

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right to repair
iCracked repairs broken iPhone screens by sending technicians to the customer.
Photo: iCracked

Insurance giant Allstate has purchased third-party smartphone repair company iCracked, giving the Right to Repair movement much-needed lobbying muscle.

Already, the insurance company has assigned a lobbyist to proposed legislation underway in New Hampshire, one of 15 states considering Right to Repair bills opposed by tech companies, including Apple.

News of the acquisition was reported this morning by the website Motherboard, which quoted several named sources close to the acquisition.

iCracked started in a dorm room at California Polytechnic State University and within five years, the company had a network of thousands of technicians across the U.S. plus a growing number in 11 countries.

Right to repair and Apple

Company founder, AJ Forsythe kept dropping his iPhone and cracking the screen. Rather than wait for a costly repair from Apple, Forsythe bought parts on Alibaba for a cheaper and quicker fix.

Apple has a tight grip on its components in an attempt to get customers to turn to the Apple Store for repairs. It is one of several companies fighting against right to repair legislation.

Apple says making its components available to third-party repairs could attract “bad actors.” In 2017, Apple paid $9,000 a month to a lobbying firm to fight proposed legislation in New York.

Apple is not the only company fighting Right to Repair laws. The list includes Facebook, Microsoft, and tractor company John Deere. Farmers are at odds with John Deere over costly service delays and expensive hardware and software fixes for computerized machinery.

“Right now, the struggle on right to repair is us Davids versus a whole slew of Goliaths,” Nathan Proctor, director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair at US PIRG told Motherboard “In the end, even if some larger companies support the right to repair, the reason will end up winning is because legislators hear from their constituents, if more Davids join in, and make their voices heard.”

Source: Motherboard