Why the EU bans Apple’s Lightning cables – economy

The commission is proposing a law to impose uniform cables for cellphones and tablets. Apple would suffer more. The company is angry, the European Parliament is delighted.

Much approval in the European Parliament, concern at Apple: this is the reaction to the European Commission’s bill, with which the Brussels authority wants to impose uniform charging cables. In the future, probably from 2024 or 2025, only cellphones, tablets, cameras, headphones and game consoles charged with USB-C cables will be able to be sold in the EU. It is the most common for smartphones anyway. But the American company Apple has so far used its own standard called Lightning for mobile phones.

During the presentation of the draft directive on Thursday, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said it was “a big step towards more user-friendliness and less waste”. For the bill to become law, it must be discussed and approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, the decision-making body of the Member States. No resistance can be expected from Parliament: MEPs asked the Commission a year and a half ago to issue such a regulation. After Thursday’s presentation, both Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and Greens expressed their satisfaction.

An Apple spokesperson said the company was “concerned that a strict regulatory framework that states that a single type of charging is hampering rather than promoting innovation – and thus harming consumers by Europe and worldwide”. The reference to the whole world is no accident: it would be expensive for manufacturers like Apple to produce one version of their mobile phones for Europe and another for the rest of the world. As the EU is an indispensable market, the new law could therefore become the global standard.

The industry has already reduced the number of charging cable types from 30 to three through voluntary commitments. Of the three standards, one is being phased out, so only Apple’s USB-C and Lightning remain – and shortly after the EU’s will, only USB-C will be used. . In addition, the legal act obliges manufacturers to always sell cell phones without a charger included. Customers can then choose whether they want to purchase only the phone or the phone with charger. All the regulations should enable consumers to save € 250 million in expenses per year.

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