EU REGULATORS could force Apple to ditch its proprietary Lightning charger in favour of one-size-fits-all USB.
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 EC, citing the "lack of progress" by phone makers, said it would shortly launch an impact assessment study to evaluate costs and benefits of a genuine universal charger.
The move comes in a bid to put an end to both the "inconvenience to consumers" and charger clutter, with gadget users chucking away 51,000 tonnes of old chargers every year.
This isn't the first time the watchdog has tried, though. Back in 2009, the EC pressured Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Nokia and 10 other companies to agree to work towards a common charger standard by 2011.
While 13 of the signatories gave up their proprietary plugs and switched to USB, Apple, on the other hand, introduced adaptors that allowed micro-USB plugs to fit into its proprietary ports. Because of course.
"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," EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager said in response to a query from an EU lawmaker.
An 'impact assessment study' will help the EC decide whether there is a need for action and analyse the impact of various options," according to the report, with Vestager's internal market colleague, Elzbieta Bienkowska, placed in charge of the issue.
Unless the EC forces Apple to dump its Lightning adaptor, it's unlikely to do so itself, given the amount of cash it makes from users having to cough up for its proprietary accessories, on top of the licensing fees it makes from third-party firms using its connector.
However, according to recent rumours, Apple will be ditching its proprietary Lightning connection, first introduced in 2012, with USB-C in 2019. µ
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