BlackBerry CEO John Chen has called on authorities to force companies such as Apple and Netflix to make their apps and services available to all consumers, no matter what platform they are using.
“The carriers are like the railways of the last century, building the tracks to carry traffic to all points throughout the country,” Chen wrote in a blog post adapted from a letter sent to members of Congress. “But the railway cars travelling on those tracks are, in today’s internet world, controlled not by the carriers but by content and applications providers. Therefore, if we are truly to have an open internet, policymakers should demand openness not just at the traffic/transport layer, but also at the content/applications layer of the ecosystem.”
Chen specifically cited Apple’s iMessage and Netflix as examples of popular services not available to users of BlackBerry devices. Chen says when developers support only the top two mobile platforms it creates “a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and applications than customers using devices running other operating systems.”
Chen then noted Blackberry’s willingness to port both BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry Enterprise Server to the iOS and Android platforms. (This was what’s known as “a desperate last gasp effort to survive.” – Ed.)
Chen’s pleas are likely due to fall on deaf ears – as it goes against everything a free market stands for – and any “app neutrality” plan would place a huge economic burden on smaller developers who would not have the resources to develop their apps for every platform.
Chen fails to share the real reason developers such as Netflix aren’t interested in porting their apps to the BlackBerry platform – It’s a lack of users, pure and simple – If there were enough BlackBerry users left to make it worth Netflix’s while, they’d port their app over to the platform in a New York minute.