BlackBerry's CEO just made a desperate move to make his company's smartphone's relevant again. In a letter to U.S. Congress, John Chen asked that developers be forced to make apps for all mobile platforms, including BlackBerry, all in the name of net neutrality. There's only one problem: I don't think he knows what net neutrality actually means.
The idea of net neutrality basically means that Internet service providers should treat all website traffic the same, meaning big sites like Amazon or Netflix shouldn't be able to pay for faster connections.
Chen has twisted that logic to apply to his business by saying that his company is being discriminated against by app developers who don't develop apps for BlackBerry. Essentially, he thinks that app developers are creating a "two-tiered" system by not creating apps for all platforms.
As an example, he said, this "discrimination" meant BlackBerry users did not have a version of Apple's iMessage or Netflix's streaming service available to them.
Developers generally create apps to make money through purchasing cost, subscriptions or fees. If a platform isn't popular, like BlackBerry, developers tend to shy away from it because it's less likely they'll earn a profit. But, popular platforms like Apple's iOS or Google's Android have no problem attracting app developers.
The letter has received widespread criticism in the technology world, with some saying Mr. Chen's argument was "utterly warped."
Chen wants developers to create products for BlackBerry's platform even though they could end up losing money if they do so. I guess he's never heard that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Unless BlackBerry is going to write those developer's a check, that's a crazy idea.