As the US is debating about Net Neutrality, BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen had shared his point of view on the issue. Instead of focusing solely on the networks, he says that content and app neutrality is equally as important in the current information age.
According to John Chen, application and content neutrality is one of the driving factors to turnaround BlackBerry. BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) was opened up in 2013 to support multiple platforms and its BES12 enterprise solution is accessible not just on BlackBerry but also on iPhone and Android devices as well.
While they have been practising what they’ve preached, he claims that Blackberry platform and its users have been discriminated unfairly by content providers and app developers. He mentioned a couple of examples such as Apple’s closed iMessage system and NetFlix denying streaming access on its BlackBerry devices. For mobile apps, most developers would usually release their respective versions for Android and iOS, leaving out BlackBerry users in the cold. This he claims is a discriminating practise which goes against a free, open and non-discriminatory internet.
From the looks of it, John Chen is blaming developers for the app gap on BlackBerry. In his ideal world, if a developer were to make an app for iPhone or Android, they must release a BlackBerry 10 version as well. With the dwindling number of BlackBerry users, it is no surprise why developers would be hesitant to invest additional resource for another platform. Besides, the latest BlackBerry 10.2.1 and above could already support Android apps, which sort of addresses its application gap.
If John Chen wants more developers to write for BlackBerry, there should be a strong desire to do so and forcing them through regulation won’t be a good idea. Microsoft had a similar app gap issue as well but they have managed to close in with most popular apps being available on their Windows Phone store. To bring BlackBerry back to its glory days won’t be an easy task and they definitely need to do more than just apps to make it appealing again.