BlackBerry CEO Weighs In On Net and App Neutrality

Posted by at 5:03 am on January 22, 2015

BlackBerry CEO John S. Chen penned a blog post concerning net neutrality.

Chen does not think the FCC should reclassify broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. He believes the FCC can come up with other ways to ensure an open, competitive market.

Perhaps more interesting, however, are Chen’s thoughts on “application neutrality.” Chen believes application developers and content providers should be required to make their apps and services available to all mobile devices, including BlackBerries. “Not all content and applications providers have embraced openness and neutrality,” wrote Chen.

“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. Many other applications providers similarly offer service only to iPhone and Android users. This dynamic has created 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. Therefore, neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet. 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.”

Both the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store are home to more than one million apps each. The number of apps available to BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices is much, much less.

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