Apple warns EU call for common charger could stifle innovation

Apple is pushing back against the European Union's calls to require one charger that works for every phone, arguing that such a move could stifle innovation and harm consumers around the world.

The company's statement on Thursday marks its first public response to an EU campaign to mandate a "common charger," which would require smartphone makers to produce one charger for all mobile devices in the region. 

“We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, and would harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole,” Apple said in a statement. 


The proposal would specifically hit Apple's Lightning connector, which powers most Apple products including the iPhone. If the EU takes concrete regulatory action, Apple could be forced to stop selling and relying on the Lightning connector. 

The EU is considering a common charger mandate for the tech industry in order to reduce environmental waste and cut down costs for consumers. But previous efforts to create one charging method in the EU have failed for more than a decade.

Right now, two kinds of charging plugs dominate the market: an industry standard USB and Apple's Lightning. Apple has argued a common charger would be "bad for the environment and unnecessarily disruptive for customers."

An official with the European Commission recently said the government body will "look at a combination of policy options, including regulatory and non-regulatory measures, to achieve our objectives," panning the tech industry for failing to take up the challenge on its own.

Politicians in the region have said a common charger could help the EU reduce waste while making life more convenient for European consumers.

“We are drowning in an ocean of electronic waste,” Róża Thun und Hohenstein, a European lawmaker, said at the European Parliament last week. “We cannot continue this way."