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European Union Calls for microUSB Charging to be Mandatory in all Mobile Devices

by Sean P. Aune | September 29, 2013September 29, 2013 6:30 am PST

lightning cable

The European Union is moving towards requiring microUSB to be mandatory in all mobile devices going forward, clearly painting a target on Apple’s back.

While nearly every mobile company has adopted microUSB as the default charging option on devices, this was not done without some prompting. In 2009 the European Union reached a voluntary agreement with manufacturers to move towards microUSB as the charger of choice to help consumers who were tired of proprietary cables coming with everything. However, there has been one noticeable holdout in  Apple which moved from its aging 30-pin connector last year to the new Lightning cable.

Apple’s solution to this situation was to offer adapters throughout Europe that allowed you to use microUSB cables to charge your Apple devices, but you had to go out and purchase them at an extra expense and they were never included with the company’s products.

It seems that may no longer be enough as the European Parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee voted unanimously last week on a resolution of a law requiring that would require all companies to make only one type of charger. The belief is that this would cut down on the amount of waste generated by the electronics industry in the world’s land fills while also appeasing consumers.

Depending on the wording of the law, should it ever be passed, the easiest solution here would be for Apple to simply include the microUSB to Lightning adapters in all of its products distributed throughout Europe. This would keep Apple from having to retool its phones, and it would also allow it to keep selling its own cables through out the rest of the world without having to run two product lines. It is fairly clear that the European Parliament has had enough of Apple’s shenanigans and plans to do something about it, but unless it is careful with the wording, it’s highly doubtful that we will see a new generation of iPhones shipping with microUSB ports.

European Parliament TUAW

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...