Asurion, an insurance company for telephones and other devices, has reportedly acquired uBreakiFix, the official phone repair company for Google Pixel devices and Samsung Galaxy phones. The immediate merger plans are unclear, but it would be relatively easy for Asurion to push its customers to uBreakiFix locations to have their insured devices repaired immediately. uBreakiFix has more than 500 stores in the US and Asurion offers its customers screen repairs and full phone replacements depending on their plans. Asurion is the provider of telephone insurance plans sold by AT&T, Sprint and Verizon in the US.
The purchase comes at a time when legislation on the right to repair is being considered, a law that would require technical manufacturers to make diagnostic tools and manuals readily available. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) favors a national right to repair that specifically concerns agricultural equipment such as tractors. Although it focuses on more industrial equipment, a law can also affect consumer electronics companies, such as Apple, that require customers to go to authorized stores for repair.
Apple is opposed to this legislation and has reportedly put pressure on California lawmakers to postpone a vote on repairs until 2020 at the earliest. Apple has said that battery repairs are a particular risk for consumers who could repair their own devices due to the fire risk. The company also has a financial incentive to prevent people from repairing their own devices. With the iPhone sales slowing down, the company would rather have people buy a whole new device or go to an official Apple Store than try repairing it themselves.