“I have a dream that one day Apple’s iMessage will be available for all BlackBerry users.
I have a dream that Netflix media will be streamed on all BlackBerry devices.
I have a dream that app developers wont only focus on Android and IOS while ignoring BlackBerry.
I have a dream that once again BlackBerry will be as popular as it used to be.”
On the 19th of January 2015, Americans observed the Martin Luther King Day. And just like the civil rights activist who protested against racial inequality, John Chen, BlackBerry’s CEO who joined the company in November 2013, has decided to speak out against platform inequality.
In his message to members of the United States, Chen commented on issues related to net neutrality. The crux of his argument was that net neutrality involved not only the prevention of discrimination by telecommunications carriers, but also the prevention of discriminatory practices by content and application providers as well.
Citing BlackBerry’s willingness to make the BBM service available to Android and iPhone users, he decried Apple’s refusal to allow BlackBerry and Android users download the Apple iMessage messaging service. Netflix was another culprit he mentioned, stating that although Netflix had forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, the internet media company had refused to grant access to BlackBerry users.
In essence he declared that, policy makers have to ensure that BlackBerry users are not left behind if a truly free, open and non-discriminatory internet is the goal.
However, for content and application providers his demands might be unrealistic. This is due to the fact that development requires investment of resources and it only makes business sense to invest in platforms that offer reasonable return on investment (ROI); hence the preference for IOS and Android platforms. Based on this John Chen’s proposal is bound to face some serious opposition.
When it comes to winning the fight for equality,
Martin Luther King did it.
Nelson Mandela did it.
Will John Chen be able to do it?