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App Makers Should Be Required To Code For BlackBerry Says Boss

Neutrality For Mobile Apps


In a bold move, BlackBerry’s boss John Chen has said that App makers should be forced to make apps for Blackberry handsets as well as other smartphones. In his open letter to the US Senate, Chen said that app developers choose not to make apps work for BlackBerry phones. He also said that other phone makers such as Apple have monopoly over the app market and that developers were ‘discriminating’ against BlackBerry.

He faced huge levels of criticism with experts in the industry calling his claims ‘ludicrous’.

Poor BlackBerry, they don’t seem to be able to find their feet ever since smartphones became much more widespread. Initially BlackBerry phones were strong contenders for the top spot of the smartphone market. But unfortunately for them, their archaic keyboard design has left them lagging behind while other developers such as Samsung, Apple and HTC storm ahead.


In his letter, Chen first outlined the implications of net neutrality and smartphones. If you’re not sure, net neutrality is the principle that there should be no paid prioritisation for net traffic. This means no company should be able to gain a commercial advantage by paying ISPs to have its data reach people faster. Essentially, neutrality is a very good thing and prevents our ISPs throttling our internet for financial gain.

Chen then went on to say that the exact same principle should apply to smartphones and the app market. Under the rules that Chen proposes, app developers would be forced by law to make apps for BlackBerry as well. Let’s step back and think about what he wants. Anytime any company make an app for smartphones they wouldn't be able to release it until they had versions for every format. It doesn't sound too much for big developers like Facebook and Twitter, but imagine a small start-up group who are trying desperately to break into the market. This proposed bill would severely damage their production and potential.

As mentioned, Chen’s proposal has met with harsh criticism and rightly so. Stuart Miles founder of gadget site Pocket-lint spoke out against Chen.

‘He's asking someone that he does not pay, to work on their own time to develop something for his platform that might have the potential for making money but might well not’ He went on to say: ‘If you have an enticing, exciting platform, that's when people will start developing for you.’
Stuart Miles hits the nail right on the head.

This proposed bill from BlackBerry and John Chen is as pompous as it is ridiculous. Chen seems to operate under the belief that the current rendition of BlackBerry phones are as well made as the other big mobile giants. Until they step up their game developers aren't going to bother with building apps for what is nothing more than a dying brand. Think about it, imagine if you had a video game system that didn't have a big fan base. Why should developers be forced to make games for an unpopular system? The issue lies with the product, not with the number of available apps

Furthermore, this proposed bill seems to completely ignore the implications that BlackBerry wants to impose onto all developers working in the app market, as Stuart Miles said.

Just because Chen can say that some world leaders use BlackBerry phones doesn't mean that they're cutting edge, they haven't been for quite some time. 

Now, back to drawing board with you BlackBerry. This really isn't the problem you should be dealing with right now. Wake up and look at your product. Not some feigned discrimination. 

Tom Welby

Tom has just graduated from University of East London in Creative and Professional Writing. He loves writing and he currently manages, edits and writes for this blog. His other loves include Arnold Schwarzenegger films and his dog. Follow him @TomAtSMF

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App Makers Should Be Required To Code For BlackBerry Says Boss Reviewed by Unknown on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 Rating: 5
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