The European Union has announced a new plan that will force electronics manufacturers to conform to one universal charger for smartphones and other electronic devices, in an effort to combat growing electronic waste.
According to a new rule proposed by the European Commission, manufacturers will have two years to transition their product design to conform to a universal charging cable, in an effort to encourage consumers to use their existing chargers when they buy a new device. As of current, there are three main types of chargers: USB micro-B ports used by Android devices, the ‘Lighting’ connector specific to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) products, as well as the USB-C— which is favored by the EU.
“European consumers have been frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers,” said EU Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager. The new rule would affect smartphones, tablets, handheld video game consoles, headphones, portable speakers, and cameras. In addition, electronics manufacturers whose devices offer rapid charging features will have to adhere to uniform battery power recovery rates.
However, Apple— whose devices rely on custom charging ports— has been strongly opposed to such rules, arguing that they would instead interfere with innovation and create more unnecessary pollution. “Strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,” Apple said in response to the EU’s proposed rules.
European Commission’s internal market commissioner Thierry Breton stifled Apple’s argument, instead pointing out that “It is not against innovation. It is for European consumers, it is not against anyone.” Over the past ten years, the European Commission kept in place a voluntary agreement with manufacturers to package cables with devices, but the current situation has gone out of control; consumers spend nearly $2.8 billion per year on charging cables that were not included with the product they purchased.
Information for this briefing was found via BBC News and the companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.