As software and other technologies get infused in more and more products, manufacturers are increasingly making those products difficult to repair, potentially costing business owners time and money. Makers of products ranging from smartphones to farm equipment can withhold repair tools and create software-based locks that prevent even simple updates, unless they’re done by a repair shop authorized by the company. That can cost independent repair shops valuable business and countless labor hours sourcing parts. Farmers can lose thousands waiting for authorized dealers to fix malfunctioning equipment. And consumers end up paying more for repairs — or replacing items altogether.
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