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EU wants all companies, ahem Apple, to use standard charger

A European Parliament committee unanimously voted to require all phone makers to sell the same type of charger. While most companies already provide the standard Micro-USB connectors, Apple doesn't.


The European Union has been pushing for a universal cell phone charger for years, and on Thursday it took another step forward in this process.

The European Parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee unanimously voted on a legislative resolution to create a law requiring all companies to make the same type of charger. One of the reasons for this resolution is to cut down on e-waste.

"We urge member states and manufacturers finally to introduce a universal charger, to put an end to cable chaos for mobile phones and tablet computers," rapporteur Barbara Weiler said in a statement.

While the committee is targeting all phone makers operating in Europe, Apple is one of the only companies that doesn't already supply users with a Micro-USB connector. For the most part, phone makers in Europe broadly adopted Micro-USB cable chargers after the European Commission chose the interface as the region's official standard in 2010.

Even though there's a rough agreement between companies to supply users with Micro-USB connectors, it's not mandatory. This is why Apple can still create items like the 30-pin and Lightning connectors and not come under fire from European politicians. This is also the reason why Apple's 30-pin to Micro-USB cable adapters are only available in Europe. However, the Lightning to Micro-USB cable adapters are available worldwide.

Despite the authoritative nature of the resolution, it's likely big changes won't happen anytime soon. The committee still has to take its proposal to the Council, which will bring it before Parliament, and then it needs a number of votes to pass.

[Via Macworld.]

Corrected at 6:55 p.m. PT to say that Apple's Lightning to Micro-USB cable adapters are available worldwide.