Re: I can see the value in certification
Checking eBay, the cheapest 'price + shipping' I can find on a single (no quantity discounts) 3' MFi certified Lightning cable is $1.49, the cheapest 3' micro USB cable is $0.79 (ditto for USB-C)
So while it is almost twice as expensive, the difference is only 70 cents. Ignoring the chip and MFi licensing compliance (i.e. whatever Apple requires for participation in terms of paperwork etc.) for a moment, you'd still expect USB to cost less because there are probably 10x as many USB cables sold in a year than Lightning cables. Not only are there way more Android phones worldwide than iPhones, an increasing number of small CE devices use microUSB for power rather than a wall wart to add to the collection.
There's not much room for Apple to be making money out of that 70 cents with the lower production volumes and overhead of the chip and compliance. Like I said, if Apple wanted to profit they'd simply not license Lightning and you'd have to buy from them. Apple charges $19 in their online store for a Lightning cable, while Samsung charges $14.99 for USB-C cable - not much better!