BlackBerry CEO: Apps Should be Available on All Platforms

BlackBerry CEO John ChenBlackBerry CEO John Chen has called for app neutrality across mobile platforms.

In a blog post adapted from a letter sent to the US Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Chen demands that “customers must have the ability to access any lawful apps and content they choose, and apps/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system”.

In essence, Chen is suggesting that all apps should be developed on a cross-platform basis, as the dearth of apps ported to BlackBerry – and, presumably, Windows Phone – has created “a two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem, in which iPhone and Android users are able to access far more content and apps than customers using devices running other operating systems”.

Chen draws a comparison between the issue and the current debate around net neutrality in the US, claiming that app ecosystem contains “precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticised at the carrier level”.

He points to the fact that while BlackBerry has made its BBM messaging service available on iOS, Apples iMessage has not similarly made the jump over to the BlackBerry OS – ignoring the software that BlackBerry has not yet made available on competitors app stores, such as BlackBerry Travel or its recently-launched enterprise tools.

Singled out for criticism in the post is Netflix, which Chen claims “has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them” in spite of its strong stance on net neutrality.

The two issues arent necessarily comparable, however. While net neutrality is made possible by the versatility of HTML, which can run in any browser, apps require entirely different code to run on each mobile OS.