iFixit has cancelled its Samsung ‘Galaxy of Repair’ partnership criticising the company’s commitment: ‘We tried to make this work. Gosh, we tried’

Successful business partnerships rely on co-operation, open communication, and shared goals. None of which appears to have been present in the partnership between iFixit and Samsung, as the former has announced it’s cutting ties with the South Korean tech giant over multiple repairability concerns.

iFixit—a how-to website that sells electronics repair parts and publishes guides on how to repair consumer devices—announced back in August 2022 that it was building a “Galaxy of Repair” with Samsung. This would involve the site offering genuine parts for several Samsung Galaxy devices including the Galaxy S20 and S21 series, along with updated guides to help users repair them.

However, in a recent post iFixit has announced the ending of the Samsung partnership, heavily criticising the electronics manufacturers approach to the repairability of its devices. iFixit has said:

“As we tried to build this ecosystem we consistently faced obstacles that made us doubt Samsung’s commitment to making repair more accessible. We couldn’t get parts to local repair shops at prices and quantities that made business sense.” 

“The part prices were so costly that many consumers opted to replace their devices rather than repair them. And the design of Samsung’s Galaxy devices remained frustratingly glued together, forcing us to sell batteries and screens in pre-glued bundles that increased the cost.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the post goes on to say that “flashy press releases and ambitious initiatives don’t mean much without follow through” and that “we let them convince us they were serious about embracing repair”.

“We tried to make this work. Gosh, we tried. But with such divergent priorities, we’re no longer able to proceed.”

Blimey. Less of a partnership ending then, and more of a messy public divorce. As a result, from June iFixit will no longer be Samsung’s designated third-party parts provider, nor will it collaborate with Samsung to develop new manuals. However, the company has said it will continue to sell parts and repair fix kits for Samsung devices, sourcing OEM parts when available, “just like we do for Apple repair parts”.

The invocation of Apple, a company iFixit has previously criticised for creating products that are “literally not repairable”, suggests that iFixit has well and truly thrown in the towel when it comes to working with Samsung to make its products as easy to repair as it would like.

Samsung has yet to publicly respond to iFixit’s comments, but if it did, at this point I’d be expecting a rebuttal that involved unpaid parking tickets, accusations of infidelity, and a wish for an open discussion on who gets to keep the family dog.

In all seriousness, the lack of facility for users to easily repair modern devices is believed to be a large contributing factor to e-waste, with some studies suggesting that 30% of abandoned electronics waste could be removed from the ecosystem with stronger “Right to Repair” legislation. 

The EU has recently voted to adopt new rules making the right to repair much stronger among member states, in an effort to prevent consumers from buying new, expensive items and contributing to e-waste by throwing away their older devices.

Noble goals, no doubt. However, when it comes to this particular partnership towards a more sustainable future, iFixit seems to have packed its bags and left for good.