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The term connector conspiracy possibly began to acquire popularity with the arrival of a mainframe computer called DEC KL-10 in the 1970s. The connectors for DEC KL-10 were completely different from all available connectors at that time. In fact, DEC even got the patent for the KL-10 Massbus connector. DEC reputedly turned down the option to license the design, which successfully locked third parties out of healthy competition for the profitable Massbus peripherals industry. This plan frustrated the vendors of obsolescent tape and disk drives. They maintained older VAX or PDP-10 systems. Their CPUs functioned fine, but they were tied to perishing, obsolescent tape and disk drives with increased power requirements and low capacity.
Another phenomenon closely related to the connector conspiracy, but with a slightly different objective, is the invention of new screw heads by some vendors. These screws could only be removed by those designated technicians who possess magic screwdrivers. Also, they only have the option to remove covers for repairing the product. Older Apple Macintosh computers took one step ahead, requiring a tailor-made, case-cracking instrument to open the box.
In more recent years, this term might also be applied to cellphone chargers; many manufacturers have switched to a standard USB plug, but others - most notably Apple - have failed to follow suit.