Microsoft partnering with 'major US retailer' for Surface repair network expansion

Microsoft Surface Pro 9
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 may not seem like a massive leap forward. However, it did get a secret upgrade — it’s easier to repair.

Now it looks like the Surface manufacturer wants to make it even easier to fix your Surface Pro 9. First reported on by PC Mag, Microsoft told iFixit that it plans to team up with a “major U.S. retailer” to build out its authorized repair network. It also is looking to increase the availability of parts to independent repair technicians and consumers. Both changes have a target date within the first half of 2023.

It will be curious to see which major retailer Microsoft will partner with for this expanded repair network. Microsoft used to have its own retail locations where it could conduct repairs on both consumer and enterprise devices (full disclosure, I am a former Microsoft Store employee) but they have since shuttered that network of retail stores. Partnering with someone — say Best Buy — would significantly close the gap with Apple when it comes to authorized technician availability.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9: Much easier to repair, but should you buy it?

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 promo image

(Image credit: Microsoft)

While these changes are not necessarily specific to Microsoft’s latest 2-in-1 laptop (Microsoft did not specify which devices will be authorized for repair in this new network) the new Surface is still a step forward in terms of general repairability. iFixit gives it a seven out of 10 score — a stark contrast to the one out of 10 the Surface Pro 7 received.

There are several reasons for this improvement in repairability. The screen can be more easily removed to access components, which was a serious issue with previous models. Plus, almost all the components are screwed down rather than glued down, including the battery. That makes it much easier for the average person to attempt to replace broken components. Plus Microsoft has promised Surface Pro 9 service guides available for download on the Microsoft Support site by the end of the year.

So is this increase in repairability worth getting the latest Surface? Our Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review seems to indicate that it's probably not. While the increased accessibility for consumer repairs is a nice touch, it doesn’t overcome the largely iterative release compared to the Surface Pro 8.

Given that the Surface Pro 8 just dropped $450 in a killer Black Friday laptop deal you may want to opt for that instead. Especially since that deal includes the $139 keyboard. 

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.