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European Union regulators could force Apple to drop the iPhone Lightning port

10 August, 2018, 09:54 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • EU charger

"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", Vestager said in an 1 August response to a query from an MEP. Such studies are conducted to estimate the need for the Commission's own actions and analyze the impacts of the possible options. Thus, when European Union competition chief Margrethe Vestager speaks that phone makers should standardize their chargers, as agreed upon way back in 2009, Apple and the rest of the gang better listen.

That's according to a report at Reuters, which says that the European Commission (EC) is considering whether it needs to force a common standard for phone chargers.


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. Fast charging formats only added more confusion, as the standard USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) format coexists with Qualcomm's proprietary Quick Charge technology, which started to be compatible with the USB-PD only in the 4.0 version. Although a total of 14 companies including Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Nokia signed the memorandum of understanding in 2009 to unify chargers for 2011 models of smartphones, the plan never panned out. Fast forward to 2018, and Apple is using its Lightning port, some are using USB-C, others are still on micro USB, and so on. The original agreement was then re-signed back in 2013 and 2014, and in 2018. Apple of course uses a proprietary Lightning connector and, not surprisingly, the company has never been keen to work with rival handset makers to establish some sort of lowest common denominator standard.

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