Raccontavo delle licenze di John Deere nel mio libro Capitalismo Immateriale…

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Farmers Are Buying 40-Year-Old Tractors Because They’re Actually RepairableJohn Deere makes it difficult to repair its new tractors without specialized software, so an increasing number of farmers are buying older models.Image: Edwin Remsburg/VW Pics via Getty Images When a brand new John Deere tractors breaks down, you need a computer to fix it. When a John Deere tractor manufactured in 1979 breaks down, you can repair it yourself or buy another old John Deere tractor. Farming equipment—like televisions, cars, and even toothbrushes—now often comes saddled with a computer. That computer often comes with digital rights management software that can make simple repairs an expensive pain in the ass. As reported by the Minnesota StarTribune, Farmers have figured out a way around the problem—buying tractors manufactured 40 years ago, before the computers took over. “There’s an affinity factor if you grew up around these tractors, but it goes way beyond that,” Greg Peterson, founder of the farm equipment data company Machinery Pete told StarTribune. “These things, they’re basically bulletproof. You can put 15,000 hours on it and if something breaks you can just replace it.” The tractors manufactured in the late 1970s and 1980s look and run like modern tractors, but lack the computer components that drive up costs and make repair a nightmare. That’s made them popular at auctions around the American midwest. A Nebraska area auctioneer sold off 27 older model John Deere tractors in 2019. The old work horse tractors are so popular that one with low mileage can sell for tens of thousands of dollars. A 1980 model with 2,147 hours of use sold for $43,500. A 1979 model sold for $61,000. That’s a lot of cash, but it’s still cheaper than a new model which can run between $100,000 and $150,000. The price is nice, but avoiding the computer components of the newer models saves money in the long run. “The newer machines, any time something breaks, you’ve got to have a computer to fix it,” Mark Stock, co-founder of BigIron auction told the StarTribune. Farmers are at the center of right-to-repair, a grass-roots consumer movement that says people should have the right to repair their own stuff. When a John Deere tractor breaks down, John Deere requires its owner to take it to an authorized dealer for repairs. Apple wants the same for its iPhones and recently told Congress that people would hurt themselves if they repaired their own stuff. Democratic Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both called for national right-to-repair laws.Tagged:repairjohn deereSubscribe to the VICE newsletter.Lawmaker Kills Repair Bill Because ‘Cellphones Are Throwaways’A New Hampshire lawmaker suggested that we shouldn’t fix the $1,000 devices we buy and instead we will “just get a new one.”Image: Getty Images The New Hampshire State House rejected the Digital Fair Repair Act earlier this week in part thanks to a representative who seems to think that cell phones are literally garbage that no one should bother repairing. The bill would have forced manufacturers such as Apple to share repair manuals and parts with independent repair stores. House members didn’t kill the bill, but sent it back to committee for a year of interim study, citing security concerns and, in the words of Rep. John Potucek (R-Derry) the ubiquity, cheapness, and—in his opinion—disposability of new smart phones. “In the near future, cellphones are throwaways,” Potucek said, according to New Hampshire Business Review. “Everyone will just get a new one.” That is, of course, the problem that right to repair is trying to solve. The new iPhone 11 costs between $699 and $1,349. And it can be hard to find one at the moment. Google’s Pixel 4 costs between $799 and $999. Manufacturers seal smartphones to make it difficult to replace the battery and do basic repairs. Often, getting repairs through the company is so expensive that people simply purchase a new phone. Apple’s repair monopoly is so dominant that it’s the center of an investigation by the United States House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee. Right to repair advocates aren’t buying Potucek’s reasoning. “If you told someone 15 years ago that by 2019 cellphones would cost $1,000 and be ‘throwaway’ device—and you wouldn’t even bother to replace batteries—that very idea would seem completely absurd,” Nathan Proctor, the Director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair at US PIRG, told Motherboard in an email. “We might be more used to that idea in 2019, but it’s no less absurd. We are in danger of losing the basic ability to fix our stuff outside of manufacturer control, and we need legislators to stand up for their constituents right to repair.” “At our three locations throughout [New Hampshire], we serve tens of thousands of our neighbors and visitors each year,” Chad Johansen, president of NH iPhone Repair, said in an email. “Many of our customers are happy with their devices and would rather spend $100 to fix their current device instead of $1000 for a new one with little to no updates or added features. Now the [manufacturers] such as Apple and Samsung are making it harder for residents of NH to repair the devices they own.” Twenty states had right-to-repair legislation on the ballot this year. The bills haven’t passed in any states, but the legislative season isn’t over yet. In Massachusetts, the State House held a three-hour long hearing on its Digital Right to Repair Act. Right-to-repair advocates are hopeful the act will pass in Massachusetts, where the legislation is patterned after a similar measure that passed in 2012 which gave independent auto shops the right to repair. The right-to-repair movement is at a critical stage. The Federal Trade Commission is studying the issue, and Democratic presidential candidates Elzbath Warren and Bernie Sanders have called for national right-to-repair laws. Rep. John Potucek did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.Apple Tells Congress You’ll Hurt Yourself if You Try to Fix Your iPhoneApple tries to put a nice face on its anticonsumer policies.Image: iFixit In July, Congress pressed Apple on its repair policies, which Motherboard and others have repeatedly shown to be anticompetitive and anticonsumer. Tuesday, Kyle Andeer, Apple’s Vice President of Corporate Law, answered those questions. In its testimony, Apple repeatedly denied accusations it was making it hard for people to repair their own phones and protecting a virtual repair monopoly. But its answers often didn’t align with reality. Apple’s primary arguments were that iPhones are too technical for the average person to repair without special training, that doing such repairs could be dangerous, and that it costs Apple more money to do repairs than they charge. It’s the first time Apple has ever gone on the record about its repair policies at length. “Repairs that do not properly replace screws or cowlings might leave behind loose parts that could damage a component such as the battery, causing overheating or resulting in injury,” Apple said when asked why it stops third party repair stores from receiving official parts and information. “For these reasons, we believe it is important for repair shops to receive proper training when obtaining access to spare parts and repair manuals.” Safety obviously isn’t Apple’s primary concern. If it were, it’d provide easy access to training and manuals it claims would prevent injury. “Apple’s argument is absurd,” Nathan Proctor, Director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair at US PIRG, told Motherboard in an email. “In defending their decision not to make spare parts or service information available, the company claims that certain parts and information are necessary for a reliable repair. It’s a totally circular argument. Apple wants their customers, and the federal government, to accept the notion that while a repair monopoly exists, it’s a beneficial monopoly, made for our good.” The threat of the exploding battery is also overblown. “Apple is hanging their hat on their perceived need to protect consumers from their own batteries,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of trade orgnaization Repair.org, said. “Which seems odd since they could design batteries to be easily removed by a 5th grader and the world would be better for it. We’ve replaced hundreds of batteries and screens for legislators while they watch…these repairs aren’t rocket science.” Apple also seemed incapable of answering basic questions about the repair market it insists it must tightly control. When the Congressional committee asked Apple how many technicians it had, it claimed there were tens of thousands. When the Committee asked how much revenue Apple generated from repairs, Apple claimed that “For each year since 2009, the costs of providing repair services has exceeded the revenue generated by repairs.” The idea that Apple is losing money on repair is wild, and a curse of its own making. The answer by Apple seems vague on purpose. Throughout the years, Apple has had to offer many “service programs” for defective products. Most notably, Apple has had to replace a large number of MacBook and MacBook Pro devices for free because it designed an unrepairable keyboard that breaks easily and with normal use. Rather than replacing a few keys on those devices, Apple has to replace half of the computer. If Apple is including warranty repairs and service program repairs in addition to standard retail repairs, well, then, it is quite simply misleading the public and Congress. “There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of small repair businesses that make a living repairing phones and do so without having access to low cost parts or tools. I smell farce,” Gordon-Byrne said. After its initial release, Apple charged $549 to repair the back glass of the iPhone X. Repairing an iPhone 11 screen costs $199 unless the customer is a member of Apple Care—a subscription service for repairs. That drives the cost down to $29, but only after the customer has paid $199 up front and $9.99 a month. “Shockingly, Apple claims to lose money on repairs, which is startling because they charge more than third parties, who turn a profit,” Proctor said. The House also asked Apple if it took actions to block consumers from seeking repairs outside of its ecosystem. Apple claimed it didn’t. “Customers are free to obtain repairs from any shop of their choice,” it said. That’s provably false. “Throughout their responses to the committee, Apple dodged and weaved to avoid stating the obvious truth: they systematically inhibit repair of their products by their customers and independent repair shops,” Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, told Motherboard in an email. “But they overstepped in their answer to question 19. Apple has engaged in a systematic, provable effort to censor information about repair alternatives.” Apple has twice pushed out iOS updates that killed the touch functionality of screens repaired by third parties. People who had broken their screens and either repaired themselves or had them repaired by a non-Apple associated store, woke up after an iOS update to find their touch screens didn’t work. The problem was bad enough that some stores stopped working on iPhones. Other issued refunds to affected customers. On the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, a pop-up constantly tells the user their screen isn’t a verified replacement part. Apple is fighting against a grassroots push that’s advocating for the right-to-repair. Democratic Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have both called for national right-to-repair laws. Right-to-repair laws are being considered in twenty states, with Massachusetts leading the charge. “They should just let us fix our stuff, and provide parts, service information and diagnostic software to everyone,” Proctor said.