BlackBerry boss John Chen has posted a remarkable open letter to US president Barack Obama and the US Senate, demanding that it considers making companies like Apple and Netflix make their apps available on BlackBerry phones.
As the issue of net neutrality is discussed at government level in the US, UK and abroad, where internet providers are being scrutinised for prioritising bandwidth for different customers, Chen claims that a true neutrality mush include mobile devices and, specifically, the applications for them as well.
He would therefore like a law passed to ensure that developers of apps make their software available to all platforms, not just iOS and Android.
"The carriers are like the railways of the last century, building the tracks to carry traffic to all points throughout the country. But the railway cars travelling on those tracks are, in today’s internet world, controlled not by the carriers but by content and applications providers," said Chen, using a bizarre metaphor.
"Therefore, if we are truly to have an open internet, policy makers should demand openness not just at the traffic/transport layer, but also at the content/applications layer of the ecosystem.
"Banning carriers from discriminating but allowing content and applications providers to continue doing so will solve nothing."
Examples given include iMessage on iPhone and iPad and Netflix's streaming app.
"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 wrote, adding that many other applications are also platform specific.
"Neutrality must be mandated at the application and content layer if we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet," Chen added.
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