On the official Blackberry blog, CEO John Chen has been talking about net neutrality, ‘app neutrality’ and discriminatory practises that mean users outside of iOS and Android lose out on content.
The key paragraph:
“Unfortunately, not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality. 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. Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them.”
He goes on to say that this has created a ‘two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem’ in which Android and iOS users get much more content than users of Blackberry OS or Windows. Some would say that he has a point, but development costs for multiple platforms are high and profits vary wildly from platform to platform. For example, typically a developer is better off developing for iOS if revenue is what they’re after. The problem with Blackberry is that they don’t have a large share of the market, making it financially unviable for a developer to create software for it.
The blog post closes on an interesting note:
“All wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system.”
Chen suggests creating a law that means all apps must be available on all other mobile operating systems. It’s a little bit far-fetched. No company is going to consider giving thousands of hours of programming time over to their competitors. Also, the security risk of exchanging iMessages with an Android device might be a little too great for Apple’s liking.