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Do you ever feel limited by your Apple, Android or Microsoft ecosystem? Well, you’re not alone.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen feels that exclusive applications and content for different mobile operating systems are discriminatory, and should thus cater for all ecosystems if true net neutrality is to be achieved.
In a blog post Chen uses the analogy of a train system, saying that most of the discussion involving net neutrality focuses on the carriers which represents the tracks. The railway cars, Chen argues, are operated by content and applications. Neutrality legislation must take a “holistic view”, he says.
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 argues that since he took over the role of CEO in November 2013, the company has seen a “stabilised” and pivoted away from reliance on hardware to become a full-service.
As many of you may know, BlackBerry made its instant chat service BBM available for Android and iOS last year. This move, Chen argues, has been part of its application and content neutrality strategy. This means that tens of millions of people are currently using BlackBerry’s service on competitor devices.
He elaborates, saying that Apple’s iMessage and Netflix should be available to all BlackBerry users:
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.
So, true net neutrality, according to Chen, means that everyone should be able to access apps and content regardless of their mobile operating system.
An interesting point worth pondering about, but a rather tall order. For one, BlackBerry’s market share is expected to be around 0.3% by 2018. This means that, for a budding game or software developer, they now have to spend extra resources catering for a crowd their likely not going to see a return on.