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What does your cell phone charger say about you?

The EU has required that cell phone makers all use the same USB charger. This is a good thing. It will save a ton of waste, expense, and hassle for consumers (more detail).

But it’s also a lesson to all manufacturers who intentionally changed the plugs and connectors with every model so they could sell you more accessories.

Guess what: Consumers know when you’re screwing them.

You think you can get away with it. But instead you’re just building resentment every time they buy another accessory. Sooner or later, they hate your brand.

You think you’re making more money. But you’re selling less, because nobody wants to tie up cash in accessories they can never use again. They delay upgrades because the accessories they own will be wasted.

Anyone can look at both ends of the iPhone cable and figure out that it’s USB on one end — so why isn’t it USB on the other end? Apple convinced enough people to buy their proprietary plugs that they made a fortune and set a standard.

But you’re not Apple. The same strategy has all but killed Sony. And we still resent Apple for it.

Lesson: Consumers remember every single time you screw with them. They also remember every time you treat them right. One path leads to short-term profit and long-term failure. Make your choice.

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