The EU wants all phone chargers to be USB-C, Apple not happy

The European Commission wants the whole bloc to harmonise around a single device interface and has decided it should be USB-C.

While it would undoubtedly be handy not have to keep multiple types of charger leads, it’s not obvious why the situation is any of the EC’s business. “Years of working with industry on a voluntary approach already brought down the number of mobile phone chargers from 30 to 3 within the last decade, but could not deliver a complete solution,” laments the EC press release. “The Commission is now putting forward legislation to establish a common charging solution for all relevant devices.”

Note the slightly exasperated tone and use of the term ‘voluntary,, followed by ‘legislation. This is classic EU authoritarianism in which it patiently gives you the chance to do what you’re told before it forces you to. In other words there was never anything voluntary about the process.

“European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers,” said Margrethe Vestager, EVP for a Europe fit for the Digital Age. “We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions.”

Unstated but very much the elephant in the room is Apple, as it’s the only significant smartphone maker to have already made the switch to USB-C. Surely that’s a matter entirely between Apple and its customers who, if its sales numbers are anything to go by, are far from frustrated with the situation. However, the generic response below indicates Apple is fairly resigned to the unstoppable force that is the EC once it gets going, so it will probably get into line once the legislation is rubber-stamped by the EU’s joke of a parliament.