It's no secret that manufacturers want to cut costs. But cost cutting sometimes has more consequences than those manufacturers may test for – and this results in electronic devices reaching end-of-life earlier than expected.
The problem is very hard to verify. In this particular case, cables are marketed as being compatible with a particular specification, but upon inspecting the hardware, the Google engineering department has discovered that by using a cheaper, smaller capacitor, the specifications are not being met. That, in turn, means that the cable does work – but damages your equipment at the same time.
While this is a shining example of how cost-cutting around technical specifications and lying about them afterwards is particularly damaging to any electronic system relying on standards, especially because the explanations are public, precise, and difficult to bullshit against, it's certainly not an isolated case.
I know everyone hates bureaucracy… but if companies can't self-police to get fundamental things like international electronics standards right, with grave consequences for consumers, then perhaps it is time to introduce some bureaucracy back into the process to ensure a basic quality standard for standard interfaces.
Google engineer challenges USB-C cables for sale at Amazon | ExtremeTech
One of Google’s engineers has taken to Amazon to debunk bad cables and offer advice on which options consumers ought to pay for.