Archive for January 31, 2020

EU Decides To Standardize Connectors….. Why This Is Bad For You

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday, EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor for new rules to establish a common charger for all mobile device makers across Europe. Reuters has the details on that:

Members of the European Parliament voted by 582-40 for a resolution urging the European Commission, which drafts EU laws, to ensure that EU consumers are no longer obliged to buy new chargers with each new device.

The resolution said voluntary agreements in the industry had significantly reduced the number of charger types, but had not resulted in one common standard.

Here’s why this is bad. Politicians have a horrible track record of coming up with standards when it comes to technology. While European politicians are better than most, they still get it wrong more often than they get it right. Why is this the case? They don’t understand the technology that they are regulating for starters. And if you don’t understand something, you’ll screw up trying to regulate the something in question. And technology is constantly evolving. So while the standard of the moment seems to be USB-C, that will only last so long before something better evolves and we’ll be back to having multiple chargers again. And in a few years we’ll be having this discussion again. Thus this is going to be never ending. Finally, there are things that are simply not going to fit into whatever bucket that these politicians are creating. For example, the Apple Watch uses a magnetic charging puck. Are EU politicians going to now say that it has to change to USB-C? If they do, then they’re really short sighted.

For those reasons, politicians in the EU should really not get involved in this. Now I like a lot of people would like to have less cables for the various devices that I own, but this is not how you accomplish that.