Apple Co-Founder Has Harsh Words For The Company Over Its Control Of Your Devices


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Steve Wozniak is a legendary figure around Apple, mainly for the design of the Apple I and Apple II. Along with co-founder Steve Jobs, Wozniak is one of the most prominent people in personal computer development and was an integral part of the very early days of what would become the world’s most valuable company.

Despite the fact that the average iPhone user probably has no idea who “Woz” is, he will forever be associated with one of Silicon Valley’s most important origin stories. While Wozniak left Apple in 1985 and sold most of his stock, he still reportedly received an honorary salary of $ 50 per month.

This week, however, Wozniak had some harsh words to say about the business he helped start. Specifically, he challenges Apple’s stance on the “right to repair,” the idea that consumers should be able to access information and parts to repair their devices. Currently, Apple is one of the most ardent opponents of the movement.

Wozniak’s main argument is that “we wouldn’t have had Apple if I hadn’t grown up in a very open technological world.” That is true. As Woz describes in a video posted to Cameo, it was the fact that he was able to take things apart, see how they worked, and fix them when they broke, that led him to build computers in first place.

“Back in the day, when you were buying electronics like televisions and radios, every part of the circuits and designs was included on paper. Completely open source, ”he said.

In fact, he argues that opening up Apple’s early products was one of their selling features. “It was not … a success by pure luck,” he said. “There was a lot of good things about being so open that anyone could join in on the fun.”

In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that you could buy a PowerBook and upgrade the RAM or replace the hard drive on your own. I have personally done both and have replaced more than a few iPhone screens. Now, however, most Apple devices do not contain any user-serviceable parts.

This does not mean that they are impossible to repair, but many are far too difficult without special tools. Even if you are successful, you have almost certainly voided the warranty, which means Apple will not pay for future repairs to your device.

The video responded to a question from Louis Rossmann, a YouTube personality and advocate for the right to redress, and Wozniak is not shy about sharing exactly what he thinks about Apple’s position.

“Businesses inhibit (the right to fix) because it gives businesses power, control, over everything,” Wozniak said. “It’s time to start doing the right things.” It’s a pretty common criticism of Apple – that it’s exercising too much control.

Wozniak’s rebuke comes the same week President Biden signed an executive order ordering the FTC to introduce rules preventing companies from restricting how consumers can repair the devices they buy. The FTC has previously called Apple, calling its restrictions on third-party and DIY repairs “anti-competitive.”

Still, it must sting a little more coming from someone who founded the company, even if he hasn’t been a part of it for over 30 years.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of Inc.com are theirs and not those of Inc.com.

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