Blackberry boss John Chen yesterday demanded that US President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate force every developer to make versions of the apps available on Blackberry phones.
In a bizarre open letter, Chen compared the issue of net neutrality with availability of apps on different mobile platforms. In the latter, he said that true neutrality included mobile devices and specifically the apps released for them.
“The carriers are like the railways of the last century, building the tracks to carry traffic to all points throughout the country,” Chen said in the letter, before launching into a bizarre metaphore.
“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.”
Despite the bizarre metaphor, Chen isn’t the first to make the link between the success of mobile platforms and the number/quality of apps available for them.
Microsoft has in the past also raised concerns about the so called app-gap. However, instead of writing to the US government to try and get the law changed, it instead offered a financial incentive to get developers to release their apps on Windows Phone.
"Therefore, if we are truly to have an open internet, policy makers should demand openness not just at the traffic/transport layer, but also at the content/applications layer of the ecosystem.
“Banning carriers from discriminating but allowing content and applications providers to continue doing so will solve nothing.”
“Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple’s iMessage messaging service.”
However, his ire wasn’t reserved solely for BlackBerry’s direct rivals. He also accused Netflix of conspiring against the success of his company.
"Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them.
“Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet,” Chen added.