The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, is considering clamping down on tech companies who have made 8220;unsatisfactory progress8221; towards common charging standards. Given that Apple is now the biggest player to have not adopted the USB Type-C standard for its flagship phones, it seems the company may be the focus of the upcoming impact assessment.
The issue of common phone chargers has been a contentious one for EU regulators for years. The Commission says outdated chargers contribute to over 51 thousands tonnes of electronic waste, and that consumers are inconvenienced by having to change chargers with each handset, according to Reuters.
This isn8217;t the first time the European Commission has tried to tackle this issue. Previously, a group of companies that included Apple signed a voluntary memorandum of understanding, stating that they8217;d agree to harmonise their chargers in two years. That was back in 2009.
On August 1st 2018, Vestager released a statement saying, 8220;Given the unsatisfactory progress with this voluntary approach, the Commission will shortly launch an impact assessment study to evaluate costs and benefits of different other options.8221;
You can8217;t just go out and by any old USB-C cable on Amazon and hope that it works with your fast-charging device. Different cables are produced to different standards, and this means that in practice the safest option is to stick with the cable that came with your phone if you don8217;t want to risk damaging it.
If you8217;re going to play it safe and only use the certified USB-C cable that came with your device, then the amount of electronic waste might not actually go down even if everyone used the Type-C connector.
Cynics may attack the approach by saying it8217;s simply another way for Apple to make money, but the system does seem to keep standards up.
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