EU considering action to enforce mobile phone charging standards

The European Union is revisiting a 2009 agreement where hardware device manufacturers committed to using the micro USB standard for charging smartphones and other mobile devices, Reuters reports. According to EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, EU regulators are considering what actions to take against phone makers who have not lived up to their agreements to adopt universal charging standards.

The European Commission has long been pushing for companies to adopt a common charging connector in order to reduce waste — 51,000 tons yearly — from old chargers, as well as the challenges that it presents to consumers. Apple and 13 other companies voluntarily signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) back in 2009 committing to harmonize chargers for new smartphones as of 2011, with micro USB chosen as the new standard; however it was later speculated that Apple could fulfill its obligations under the agreement simply by including an adapter, such as the Lightning to Micro USB Adapter that the company released in 2012.

However, the EU has recently suggest that it’s not happy with the status quo; in a response to an EU lawmaker, Vestager said that “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.” The EU does not name any specific companies, however, making it unclear whether the lack of progress refers exclusively, or even specifically, to Apple, particularly in light of the number of manufacturers who are moving from micro USB to USB-C as a new standard. [via 9to5Mac]