John Chen, chief executive officer of BlackBerry wants to see more “app neutrality” to ensure that all the big technology companies are able to compete fairly in this highly competitive market.
In a letter to chairmen of various members of Congress, which he published on the company’s website, Mr Chen said that there are inconsistencies to the current system, which allows others to achieve a monopoly at the expense of others.
He referenced how an open approach had helped BlackBerry transform its fortunes. When he took over in November 2013, the situation was bad. However, a renewed sense of focus and a better strategy has helped it get back on its feet.
One of the key factors of its new approach has been “openness and neutrality”, Mr Chen has been integral in making the company a “full-service, device-agnostic provider of highly secure and productive software and services”.
“We opened up our proprietary BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service in 2013, making it available for download on our competitors’ devices,” he outlined in his letter.
“Tens of millions of iPhone and Android customers around the world have since downloaded BBM and are enjoying the service free of charge.
“Last year we introduced our secure BES12 mobile device management software, once again designed to manage not just BlackBerry phones but also available for enterprises and government agencies whose employees use iPhone and Android devices.”
However, unlike BlackBerry, competitors like Apple have been less inclined to adopt an open and neutral approach to apps. Mr Chen said, by way of example, that while iPhone users can download and use BBM on their phones, Blackberry users cannot do the same with iMessage.
He also reproached Netflix, which he argued was inconsistent in its philosophy. Mr Chen claimed that while the startup has “forcefully advocated carrier neutrality”, it has contradicted itself by “discriminating” against BlackBerry.
“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,” he went on to say.
“These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticised at the carrier level.”