Blackberry wants to force popular services onto its platform in the name of net neutrality
Blackberry CEO John Chen has penned on the company’s blog his argument for extending net neutrality rules to the application and content layers. He cites the opening up of its Blackberry Messenger service (BBM) on the iPhone and Android platforms. His complaint is that popular services like Apple’s iMessage and Netflix’s streaming video apps are not available on Blackberry’s platform, and therefore unfairly shut out Blackberry users from these “essential” services. His solution? Get the government to mandate that certain applications and content services be forced to provide their services on the Blackberry platform, in the name of net neutrality.
Chen’s claim leads one to wonder if he’d be advocating the same thing if we rewound the mobile market to 2007. We’ll pick that year because neither the iOS nor Android ecosystem existed then. That year, by some estimates, Blackberry owned 10% of the worldwide market for smartphones. Admittedly, though Blackberry doubled its revenue from 2007 to 2008, the market for smartphones was still nascent. That year, Blackberry was promoting its developer program and many early mobile developers jumped aboard; for instance, the popular music service Slacker was an early Blackberry app. Blackberry could have owned the mobile OS market