Net neutrality and all its nuances is a debate that has been raging for the past couple of years and brought US President Barack Obama to the table to try and find a solution to a fire that doesn't look like going out any time soon. What we hadn’t heard up until last week was another strand to the issue involving BlackBerry CEO John Chen and his belief that Apple and Google have created something he called platform neutrality.
Ever since Chen took over the reigns at the madcap Canadian company it’s been plain sailing compared to the tumultuous years before he took over. That’s what makes Chen’s comments on developing a platform neutrality sound particularly odd.
For the uninitiated, Chen posted a long musing on the BB corporate site that spoke about net neutrality and called for platform neutrality that would make app creators put their apps (Netflix gets a name-check) onto all devices and not just stick to the favourites (that’s you Apple and Google). Do BlackBerry really need those apps on their app store though?
BlackBerry is still the choice of the government ministers and business people who likely also have a tablet or computer on which to watch films and if David Cameron does spend hours Snapchatting Angela Merkel then they’ve kept it under wraps. It would make more sense for the few BlackBerry phones that are released to run Android for consumers and BB for enterprise clients instead of persisting with an OS that pure and simple won’t be winning back any consumers from Apple and Android any time soon. If they go anywhere it will be to Windows.
Yes there may very well be a two-tier system when it comes to apps trumping for Android and iOS over BB and Windows Phone but there’s nothing ugly going on here. The demand for apps is plain to see on the two platforms that own over 90 per cent of the marketplace. The demand isn’t plain to see on the platform that owns the least of all four of those and dropping fast.
Then there’s the possibility that platform neutrality would lead to app developers canning apps altogether in the US if they are made to develop a costly application for four platforms instead of choosing to make them for the platform they prefer.
It’s hard to think it wasn’t all just one big distraction from the main point of the day, and this could come across as harsh, but no-one really cares about how or what this company does in the consumer space, and whether it has Netflix or not.