Thursday, 16 August, 2018

European Union might force Apple to ditch Lightning connector in favour of USB

EU might force Apple to ditch Lightning connector in favour of USB EU might force a common charger standard for all
Katie Ramirez | 10 August, 2018, 09:57

"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", the EU Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement last week. Apple's mobile devices use a Lightning Connector whereas most Android phones today use either micro-USB or the newer USB-Type C making chargers incompatible with each other unless adapters are used.

Nearly a decade of efforts later and The European Commission still hasn't succeeded in imposing an EU charger standard.

Many phone makers voluntarily promised to standardize chargers, and while a lot of progress has been made, the European Union isn't satisfied - so, they're now thinking of making it mandatory.

It was in 2009 that 14 smartphone manufacturers agreed and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which asked them to use a common mobile charging port for all their models.

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"An "impact assessment study" will help the EC decide whether there is a need for action and analyse the impact of various options", according to the report, with Vestager's internal market colleague, Elzbieta Bienkowska, placed in charge of the issue.

The commission is once again planning to investigate the issue of multiple phone connectors in the market, noting that despite directions almost 10 years ago which abolished most proprietary connectors in favour of micro-USB, there were still different connectors for different vendors.

Californian-based Apple has embraced USB-C [Thunderbolt 3] on its MacBooks, however, thus far has refused to swap the Lightning port on mobile phones. The original agreement was then re-signed back in 2013 and 2014, and in 2018. The terms offered leeway for Apple to use its propriety Lightning connectors as long as it worked with an adaptor that also supported standard USB connections.

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