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EU seeks common charger for all phones, hurting Apple


“It takes the battle between Apple and the European Union to the next level,” Ives said. “It’s like forcing Netflix to provide VCR screening in addition to streaming. “

European Union officials and European Parliament lawmakers have been advocating a common charger since 2009, when there were more than 30 charging options on the market, now at three. They argued that fewer wires would be more convenient for users and better for the environment, as cellphone chargers would be responsible for 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year across the bloc, according to European Commission estimates. , the EU executive. arm who introduced the legislation on Thursday.

But Apple also argued that if the European Union had imposed a common charger in 2009, it would have restricted the innovation that led to USB-C and Lightning connectors. In a statement on Thursday, Apple said that while it welcomed the European Commission’s commitment to protecting the environment, it preferred a charger-side solution that left the device side of the charging interface open to the ‘innovation.

Mr Breton said Thursday he was aware of Apple’s concerns. “Every time we try to come up with a proposal, these companies start to say, ‘This will be against innovation,’ he said.

“It’s not against innovation at all, it’s not against anyone,” he added. “It’s for European consumers.

Mr Breton said manufacturers, including Apple, could choose to offer two charging ports on their devices if they wanted to keep a non-USB-C connector. But that’s highly unlikely, as one of Apple’s main arguments in favor of its Lightning connector has been its small size on iPhones.

Critics have also accused the European Union’s action of coming too late, due to the decline in connector types in recent years. Half of the charging cables sold with cellphones in 2018 had a micro-B USB connector, while 29% had a USB-C connector and 21% a Lightning connector, according to a study released by the European Commission in 2019. The Share of USB-C Charging ports have probably increased since then, as most Android phones now come with it.

The European Commission has said it will also require manufacturers to sell devices without a charger: if a bundled option remains available, an unbundled option of the same product will have to be offered, she said.

Adam satariano contributed reports.