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September 28, 2013

EU goes from Voluntary to Proposing Law on Micro-USB chargers


When Mobile phones started to appear in numbers, manufacturers used their own proprietary chargers. This meant that you could finish up, ‘if like me’ with several chargers laying around in draws. Even the same manufacturer would bring out a slightly modified chargers!

This was becoming a mess and inconvenience to many users. Some go even further to suggest that they are bad for the environment.

This brings us to last Thursday (26th) announcement from the EU that following on from the ten or so manufacturers that voluntarily, (back in 2009)  agreed to adopt the micro-USB charge and sync interface as the industry standard. Even two years ago UK network O2 left out the charger and just gave you the USB cable in some of its phones.


Since not all manufacturers have adopted the Micro-USB plug, the Members of the European Parliament’s internal market committee 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.

Germany’s MEP, Barbara Weiler, said in a statement, explaining 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.

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.


Thursday’s vote means this previously, 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 Lightning to Micro
 USB Adapter and the iPhone Micro USB Adapter   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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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini