Asurion, an insurance company for phones and other devices, has reportedly acquired uBreakiFix, the official phone repair company for Google Pixel devices and Samsung Galaxy phones. The immediate plans for the merger aren’t clear, but it’d be relatively simple for Asurion to push its customers over to uBreakiFix locations to get their insured devices immediately repaired. uBreakiFix operates more than 500 stores in the US, and Asurion offers its customers screen repairs along with complete phone replacements, depending on their plans. Asurion is the provider of the phone insurance plans sold by AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon in the US.
The purchase comes at a time when right-to-repair legislation is being considered, a law that would require tech manufacturers to make diagnostic tools and manuals readily available. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has come out in favor of a national right-to-repair law that specifically addresses farming equipment like tractors. Although she focuses on more industrial equipment, a law could also impact consumer electronics companies, like Apple, that require customers to go to authorized retailers for repairs.
Apple opposes this legislation and reportedly pressured California legislators to delay a right-to-repair bill vote until 2020 at the earliest. Apple has said battery repairs pose a particular risk to consumers who might repair their own devices because of the fire risk. The company also has a financial incentive to prevent people from repairing their own devices. With slowing iPhone sales, the company would rather people buy an entirely new device or go to an official Apple Store than try to fix it themselves.