A new war between Europe and Apple… this time about “chargers”

The European Commission is seeking to standardize chargers for mobile phones and other small electrical devices through the use of a specific type known as “USB-C”, in the name of defending consumer rights and the environment, according to a bill unveiled Thursday that has drawn opposition from the American giant “Apple”.

The proposed memorandum by the European Commission, which has yet to be approved by MEPs and EU states, aims to standardize charging ports for smartphones, tablets, cameras, audio helmets and handheld game consoles.

In 2009, the European Commission launched this project, which in January 2020 was also the focus of a decision issued by the European Parliament, but it clashed for a long time with the opposition of companies operating in the sector, despite the significant decline in the number of types of chargers in existence over the years.

After there were nearly thirty in 2009, there are three types of chargers: the “Micro USB” charging cable, which has been used for a long time as a charger for phones, and the “USB-C” chargers that are more recent, as well as the Lightning chargers used in Apple devices.

And the European Union is seeking to impose the “USB-C” type on all electronic devices, ensuring the ability to charge regardless of the type of phone, while the standardization of the technologies used will ensure the same charging speed for all devices.

The European Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, said in a statement that this decision constitutes “a victory for consumers and the environment. Europeans are fed up with heterogeneous chargers stacked in their drawers.”

And the Apple group, which asserts that its “Lightning” technology is present in more than a billion devices around the world, was quick to express its opposition.

And the giant American group considered in a statement sent to AFP that “this law will stifle creativity instead of encouraging it and will harm consumers in Europe and the world.”

And after it considered last year that such legislation would lead to an “unprecedented level of electronic waste” due to making many current chargers out of service, “Apple” warned of the proposed 24-month transition period, considering that it involves urgency and would cause major disruptions. in its current recycling activities.

The European Commission confirms that European consumers, who currently spend about 2.4 billion euros annually to purchase charging devices, can save thanks to this step 250 million euros annually, and that the waste associated with unused chargers, estimated at 11,000 tons annually, may reduce by about a thousand tons. .

The European Commission also confirms that it maintains technical innovation, especially in the field of wireless charging technology, which is excluded from the draft memorandum as it is still under development on the market.


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