If you care at all about the internet, you’re very interested in seeing how things play out at the FCC with its current efforts to investigate reclassifying broadband providers as common carriers subject to Title II regulations. That decision’s going to have far-reaching consequences, so it’s little wonder that companies that build hardware that accesses the internet – firms like BlackBerry – are speaking up to offer their opinions on the matter. But now CEO John Chen’s catching a little heat for his public letter that goes off the rails a bit, losing focus of the net neutrality issue in a plea to get more content on BlackBerry devices.
The question of net neutrality is, at its core, a relatively simple one: should carriers of data traffic be allowed to treat different types of data, from different sources, in different manners? And while Chen briefly touches on that aspect, what he dubs “carrier neutrality,” he quickly turns the spotlight back on BlackBerry in a plea for the government to force developers and service providers to stop ignoring his platform.
Chen complains about how Netflix isn’t interested in releasing a BlackBerry app, and how despite BlackBerry making BBM available on iOS, Apple hasn’t followed back with an iMessage client for BlackBerry. In his mind, these are discriminatory practices worthy of the government stepping in and mandating application and content-level “neutrality.”
For a company that has a lot of proving to do that it’s still relevant and worthy of continued support from developers, the whole thing comes off as bit privileged and petulant. And that may be the last thing BlackBerry needs right now.