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Now US senators want a law to force companies to ditch proprietary chargers

These US senators saw what the EU just did and thought, "Hey, we can do that, too!"

Published onJune 17, 2022

USB-C Charging Plug selection
  • Three US senators have officially requested the US government work to curb companies from using proprietary chargers.
  • The request sounds a lot like the EU law that just passed requiring USB-C ports for all tech products.
  • If the US follows the EU on this path, Apple would be the company hurt most.

Three United States senators — Edward J. Markey, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, all Democrats — have sent a formal request to Gina Raimondo, the Secretary of Commerce. In the letter, the senators request the US to enact a policy that sounds quite similar to a policy the European Union passed recently.

The letter (which you can see here, via The Verge) demands the US do something about proprietary chargers. Markey, Warren, and Sanders argue that the tech industry has failed “to establish uniform charging accessory standards.” This failure is “expensive and frustrating for consumers and drives the proliferation of electronic waste.”

See also: It’s not the USB-C port, it’s what you do with it that counts

Recently, the EU passed a comprehensive law that will force all companies to use USB-C charging on all mobile products by 2024. This letter from the US senators is clearly inspired by that — the senators even directly mention the EU’s legislation.

However, the letter does not push quite as hard as the EU law. The three senators don’t say anything about USB-C, for example. Instead, they merely ask the Secretary of Commerce to force the tech industry to do something about the e-waste problem.

The senators also don’t mention Apple in the letter. However, Apple would be the company most affected by any legislation against proprietary chargers. Its Lightning standard still appears on iPhones despite most other products moving to USB-C.

Of course, it is unlikely Apple would swap out Lightning for USB-C only on European products. The EU law will likely force Apple to switch all products everywhere. This US proposal is still a step in the right direction, regardless.