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EU bureaucrats want to force Apple to adopt micro-USB adapter

John-Michael Bond, @BondJohnBond
September 27, 2013
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Since the concept was first introduced, consumers have complained about proprietary chargers. Regardless if they're needed or not for a given product, they can be annoying and inconvenient. But are they bad for the environment? That's the argument being put forward by the Members of the European Parliament's internal market committee.

On September 26, the body voted unanimously to propose a law that would require companies to use a universal mobile phone charger. The law requires mobile phone manufactures to include the universal micro-USB charger in its designs.

In a statement, Germany's MEP, Barbara Weiler, explained her support of the measure.

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.

This isn't the first time the European Union has sought to impose a charger standard on manufactures. In 2009, the Commission reached a voluntary agreement with 10 mobile phone manufacturers to adopt the micro-USB charge and sync interface as the industry standard. Apple signed the agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding, but has not replaced its 30-pin or 8-pin chargers.

Thursday's vote means this formerly voluntary agreement is no longer voluntary. For Apple, with proprietary chargers that factor into the optimization of the iPhone design, this law raises some troubling concerns. Apple already sells iPhone micro-USB adaptors, and perhaps it could start including them with new iPhones as a workaround.

The international market committee will now meet with the European Council to negotiate on how to move the legislation forward toward passage. No dates have been announced for those meetings.

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