Woz is a strong supporter of the “right to repair” movement.
During a recent appearance on Cameo, a website that allows fans to pay celebrities for video messages, Apple (AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak, better known in the tech world by his nickname, spoke out on the issue.
Wozniak said he was “totally supportive” of the cause — which gives consumers the right and information to fix their own devices — and “emotionally” affected by it in a post to Louis Rossmann, a YouTube personality and a right-to-repair advocate.
“I do a lot of Cameos, but this one has really gotten to me,” he said in the nine-minute video. “We wouldn’t have had an Apple had I not grown up in a very open technology world”.
Recently, the right to repair movement has gained traction. New regulations in the United Kingdom have made it mandatory for manufacturers of televisions, washing machines, and refrigerators to provide spare parts to customers.
According to US PIRG, a coalition of state-based public interest research groups, at least 27 states have considered legislation related to the topic this year.
The White House has weighed in as well, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki stating this week that the US Department of Agriculture is considering giving “farmers the right to repair their own equipment.”
“Back then, when you bought electronic things like TVs and radios, every bit of the circuits and designs were included on paper. Total open source,” he said.
“If you know what you’re doing … you could repair a lot of things at low cost. But it’s even more precious to know that you did it yourself.”
Wozniak, for one, talked about how he learned to build and modify his own devices at a young age, even getting a ham radio license at the age of ten.
Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs 45 years ago, believes that allowing others to retool their devices has commercial value. He cited the success of the Apple II computer, which he described as “extremely modifiable and extendable” and Apple’s “only source” of profit during its early years.
“It was not … successful on pure luck,” he added. “There were a lot of good things about that being so open that everyone could join the party.”
Wozniak’s remarks come as Apple — which he left as a full-time employee in 1985 — has long been chastised for policies that limit where customers can get their iPhones and other electronics repaired without jeopardizing their warranties.
Authentic Apple parts and other materials needed to make repairs were previously only available to Apple’s authorized service providers. That changed in 2019, when the company increased the number of repair businesses it recognized officially.
But “I believe that companies [still] inhibit it because it gives the companies power, control over everything,” said Wozniak.
A request for comment from Apple was not immediately returned.
“It’s time to start doing the right things,” Wozniak said in his message. “It’s time to recognize the right to repair more fully.”