Apple Should Be Forced to Conform to a Standard Charger, Say EU Politicians

A new law could make universal chargers mandatory

Apple may be forced to abandon its proprietary 30-pin dock charger if European politicians get their way.

Members of the European Parliament's internal market committee on Thursday voted unanimously for a new law mandating a universal mobile phone charger. The MEPs want all radio equipment devices and their accessories, such as chargers, to be interoperable to cut down on electronic waste.

German MEP Barbara Weiler said she wanted to see an end to "cable chaos".

This is not the first attempt to set a standard for universal phone chargers. In 2009 the European Commission, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and leading mobile phone manufacturers drew up a voluntary agreement based on the micro USB connector.

However Apple, which sold nine million units of the iPhone 5s and 5c in just three days last week, has not adhered to the agreement despite signing up.

The draft law also lays down rules for other radio equipment, such as car door openers or modems, to ensure that they do not interfere with each other. The committee also cut some red tape, by deleting a rule that would have required manufacturers to register certain categories of devices before placing them on the market.

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The committee is now expected to begin informal negotiations with the European Council in order to move the legislative process along quickly.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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