BlackBerry CEO calls for a law to oblige developers to make their content available for BB OS

BlackBerry CEO calls for a law to oblige developers to make their content available for BB OS
In the midst of another flurry of Net Neutrality discussions, BlackBerry CEO John Chen has seen fit to draw analogies and proclaim app neutrality to be just as important. The message comes in the form of an open letter, sent to various members of US senate and president Barack Obama.

Mr. Chen describes how BlackBerry has been able to stabilize from the state of constant plummet thanks to opening its service up and providing its BBM messenger app and BES device manager to all major platforms.

In contrast to that, Mr. Chen says, Apple withholds its iMessage service from the non-iOS world and companies like Netflix is refusing to create an app for BlackBerry users. It is here, where the CEO likens this situation to the Net Neutrality issue – as iOS and Android users have had access to more applications on their mobile devices, therefore – access to a wider variety of Internet services, BlackBerry users appear as a lower tier of consumers, being nigh discriminated against. As a solution to this, John Chen asks that a law be put in place, forcing app developers to release their work not only for iOS and Android, but BlackBerry as well, ensuring that everyone has access to the same kind of content.

We have to say, while some of these words ring true at some level, third party developers should have the freedom to choose which platform they spend their time developing for. Some will invest the precious resource in a single platform only, making a premium product they usually charge slightly more for. Others churn out apps for every OS there is, pricing them low or infesting them with ads / in-app purchases. Ultimately, though, it is a business decision, which, if taken away from the developers with such a law, could raise a lot more red flags than it's trying to put down.

At least that's our take on it – what do you think?

source: BlackBerry via Pocket-lint



1. wargreymon

Posts: 764; Member since: Nov 05, 2013

This would only work if an app for one OS would work on others without any change. You can't just port an app with the click of a button.

14. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

yeah but developers shouldn't be obliged to do anything...they aren't slaves for Blackberry! I am an android user and so many iOS apps arent't available on android but that's the beauty of it...diversity of platform and available apps. This is typical of Blackberry. They start to do a few positive things and then get all high-headed. Just like in the past they made okphones with dated hardware and sold it at flagship prices all because they had their exclusive BB services. When Apple revolutionized the smartphone, BB was too proud and refused to adapt so it is paying the price today. And where was app neutrality then when you guys started the whole BB exclusive services trend in the first place! BB had to open its services up because they lost leverage the world over and they needed to stay afloat and not go bankrupt! Moreover they lost their hype over encyption-based BBM wwhen most countries in Asia and around the world demanded that either BB give them the codes to decrypt BBM meesages or they would put an end to BB services, so BB lost its one-selling point for BMM - the encryption. I could go on and on, BB is a case study in itself. I had started to like what BB started doing in the past year or so...more down-to-earth and consumer-friendly but then I read something like this. If i want to develop an app for Android only I should have the freedom to do so and shouldn't be forced to support your platform to save your sinking company. I don't get paid to that, you get paid to do it. I am going to support your platform if I like what you have to offer. Keep doing goodwork and consumers will come back. Have an attitude like the one in tjis artice...and its best to close BB down and Mr.Che time for you to go home

19. tury694

Posts: 167; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

What a joke. He just wants to get his hands on all of the great Windows Phone apps.

55. FerneyZan

Posts: 114; Member since: Jul 21, 2010

lol... that is exactly what I was thinking. hehe

22. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2512; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

I feel like I must point out once again PA didn't get the point of what Chen was saying. If you read his actual op-ed piece (which mentions a really good position on net neutrality and how to handle carriers) he is arguing for app neutrality for everyone. He is arguing against the duopoly that is Apple and Android which doesn't allow competition to enter the space. I've read the comments on this site when it comes to new platforms like Tizen and even existing platforms like Windows Phone, and many would not even try another platform other than Android and Apple because of app support. This then translates to stagnate competition and you as the end consumer lose. If we look back a few years ago when Android was still building it's app store, other platforms were given a shot with consumers because app support wasn't a huge deal at that point. Nowadays you have consumers that won't pick up a phone unless it has a certain app available. And app developers won't develop apps for a platform if it's not popular enough. It's a vicious cycle that keeps repeating. Also, since you mentioned how difficult it would be to develop apps for other platforms I felt I should point out both Blackberry's OS and Tizen can run Android apps. It's simply a matter of uploading your app to their respective stores. Maybe app equality is not the solution but we need to really ask ourselves if we want there to be competition in the mobile world or not. We also need to ask whether the barriers for a new product to enter the space is too high for there to be a realistic chance for it to compete.

33. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Yes you can.

2. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

This joke isn't funny at all, Mr. Chen.

27. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Agreed. It's pathetic. This is probably a good way to kill any potential app development for his platform.

48. dimas

Posts: 3446; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Get real Chen. If blackberry sells, developers will come. Don't hold people by the neck just because they don't do what you want.

3. BobbyBuster

Posts: 854; Member since: Jan 13, 2015

Dear Mr.Chen, If you are in need of some more nails in your corporation's coffin, do not hesitate to ask. best regards -Bobby

4. ibap

Posts: 871; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

So if you make detergent, you should also have to make HE (front-loader) detergent. And if you make bread, you should also have to make a gluten-free product. Yeah, right. Anyone else smelling desperation?

18. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

I'm smelling the fumes from whatever it is that Mr. Chen is smoking.

28. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Lol +1

20. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

I'm also smelling some double standards here. He wants "App Neutrality" to gain access to other company's apps and services. But remember the lawsuit regarding the Typo keyboard? Hey Mr. Chen - what about "Keyboard Neutrality"? (Oh Crap - I posted a message on an Android site this morning. Should I be concerned about Blog Neutrality? Maybe I should find a Blackberry site and post something)

6. AlikMalix unregistered

This is a bit desperate... I would also agree that Apple should release things like iMessage, iMovie, iTunes Radio, Find my Friends, Game Center, Facetime, Passbook and others... to other platforms: These are great Apps... Even Apple Maps or iCloud Services to whoever wants it... I would also say - I dont think the Government has the right to force any company to sell/give anything they wish not to sell/give... Especially at the request of a competing company... But still, sounds a bit desperate...

10. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

As always, there is always two sides to a coin. Net Neutrality = App Neutrality sound great on paper but who is going to pay for its execution. Internet started from a non-profit driven, campus networks. Its free to begin with. Apps are software that requires development resources such as developer man hours to code. Well, Mr Chen you are free to pursue this but i think its just another can of worms. Use your time to squeeze a better Samsung deal make more sense.

29. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Why? You can't force someone to release their services. While I would like Apple to release iMessage to other platforms but downright demanding them to would be ridiculous and stupid. No one's forcing Chen to release BlackBerry stuff so why would he draft something this stupid?

37. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3187; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

You see? You're capable of a lucid, well written post. Why do you have to be such a child?

34. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I don't agree with Chen or you either. very platform has its own apps and weaknesses and strengths. The core apps for each should remain on their respective platforms. Apple applications are for iOS, I don't want those crappy apps on my Android device. After all, if I wanted those I can simply buy an Apple device. If each platform doesn't have its own core applications and they are simply spread around all of them, then what happens to brand neutrality? What is the point of a brand if you can't offer anything unique? After all, an iPhone is just a Samsung phone with another logo on it. No one is going to create a law to force devs to make an app they don't want to on a platform they don't want too. Now having said that, very large devs should be willing to make apps for at last the top 3 on a reasonable and fair basis. Example, when Google was stalling making a YouTube app for Windows Phone, even though Microsoft is the planets largest developer is BS. They should have been force too. Why? Because Windows has 90% of the OS market which means the vast majority of Google services are likely used from a Windows device/PC. To hold one service hostage for no reason other than you can is stupid. At the same time, yes YT can be accessed from any browser on Windows, but since MS has a mobile OS and so does everyone else it only makes sense to offer something so simple. Especially since Windows apps in general aren't hard to make.

7. Lycan155

Posts: 254; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Wow still fighting .... Oh well good luck

8. DeDex

Posts: 121; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

That's desperation for you. You can't force third-party developers to port their app to every platform on the market, especially as long as there is no universal framework that allows easy ports. As for me, I wouldn't want to work for a brand whose CEO is trying to force his platform upon me through a LAW. So not only this is BS, but it also very bad publicity for a company that is already struggling to survive.

38. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

That is false. There are tools that making porting apps from one platform to another easier. Microsoft for one has a tool that makes it easy to port an app from iOS or Android to Windows Phone. Adobe has tools that make it easy to port apps made with their tools, easy to move to iOS or Android. True, there is no single universal tool to do this and their doesn't need to be. Now to be fair, I don't agree with Chen, but many devs are bias and prejudice. Many devs have been paid by Appel to keep many application on OSX and iOS and not be portd to Windows because those same apps would be better on another platform. For example, I make music and I love Final Cut Pro and Pro-Tools. Yes Apple wons FCP now, but prior to this the original dev was paid to keep FCP off x86 because the fact is the application would be better on x86 do to better processing power and the capabilities and the SSE instructions on x86 which help apps like these work ever better than they would have on PPC chipsets. Allowing an OEM to pay a dev to not develop an app on another platform should be wrong and anti-competitive and their should be laws against such behavior. If the devs choose to not make an app then that is one thing, to be paid not too is like saying, I will pay a doctor to only treat me and me only for a terrible ailment hat others have too.

57. DeDex

Posts: 121; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Indeed, there are a few common frameworks to facilitate porting to other platforms, but then you end up being forced to use this specific framework, and although this makes porting easier, it still adds some extra cost to your original project, that shouldn't be forced upon you. Now regarding your second point, I don't really agree. As long as the OEM is not forcing its law upon you, I don't see the problem in agreeing to develop a service exclusively for one platform. Maybe the dev wouldn't have developed it for another platform anyway, because they don't want to... The only difference is that when you take an OEM's money, you make an explicit contract about it. If an implicit agreement is okay, why would an explicit one be? You chose the argument of a doctor that you would pay "to only treat [you] and [you] only for a terrible ailment that others have too". But would it be more acceptable in the case you wouldn't have paid your doctor, but they would have treated you and only you anyway, because they like you better or because they don't know how to treat other patients as well as they treat you ? If you think that an agreement between a dev and an OEM should be illegal because it would be anti-competitive, it is a stance that I can understand, but I think whether or not the dev is paid for it should not matter.

9. meanestgenius

Posts: 22773; Member since: May 28, 2014

Chen....John...You know I have your back with just about everything...You know I support BlackBerry above all other OS's...but this just doesn't sit well with me. I don't think it's fair that governments force developers to create apps for all platforms. That should be the developers CHOICE, and their choice alone. I would love it if all developers did this willingly...but if they do not, then so be it. I could understand if all OS's were on the same underlying code...that would make it easy. But there would be just too much in the way of resources that would have to be devoted to this by developers, and not all developers can monetarily afford to this. This is one course of action that BlackBerry should not pursue. Find another way, John. To the trolls and haters: Had you made your response similar to what AlikMalix said, or phrased it similarly, I wouldn't add this part. But to say things like "dead horse" and "nails in coffin" and "sell to Samsung" just shows the troll in you. So to you I say, quit it with the trolling. It just makes you all look inept at being able to say what you want to say constructively.

17. buccob

Posts: 2981; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

Great post, definitely not a blind fanboy, but an actual down-to-earth honest opinion. I wish everyone in this place would express like this about their preference brand... I am known for liking Sony Xperias, but they are struggling too and I am familiar with the issues... however they still offer the only devices that suit my needs. Finally, I wish all those companies having a hard time, Sony, HTC, BB, etc can get back on their feet because dying doesn't help us consumer in any way... look at Palm

41. meanestgenius

Posts: 22773; Member since: May 28, 2014

Thank you. While anyone here knows I'm all for defending BlackBerry, my platform of choice, right is right and fair is fair. And if something like this were to go down, it wouldn't be right or fair. Also, thank you for noticing I'm not the fanboy others have labeled me as.

21. xq10xa

Posts: 810; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Nice. We actually have something we agree with. Good post sir.

43. meanestgenius

Posts: 22773; Member since: May 28, 2014


40. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You aren't wrong or right. Here is how I suggest viewing it. YEs a dev should make that decision and not be forced to do it. But many devs get paid to keep apps on one platform. For large evs like Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and others, having a team to make apps for the lesges platforms is an easy task. After all, these devs already make apps for leading platforms. Example, even though Apple has OSX team and an iOS team, they also have a Windows team, just like Microsoft has an Apple team, Android team and iOS team. Big companies should make apps for any major platform whether it is still on top or not. After all these companies offer services that many users on BB used. Small devs yes will have a hard time trying to make apps for so many platforms and what you said would fit them, but even then there are tools which make porting an app to other platforms easy. Even Blackberry has a tool that makes porting apps from Android to QNX easier. Devs have no excuse to not make their most "popular" apps avail on another platform. I am not speaking of core apps per se. Like for example, Office is avail on iOS, Android in addition to Windows. iMessage from Apple I personally wouldn't want to see not running on an iOS device. However, if the person wants another platform and they still want to use that apps, such could be made avail as an app they can install, pay for and still use that companies services. After all, fact; Google services are 100% identical no matter what platform you use them on. If they can do it, then devs like Facebook, MS, Apple, Samsung and other can do the same and still offer exclusive offerings unique to their own. No open is saying a dev should be forced to make an app for every platform. But popular apps that are top dogs should be on the top 5 platforms.

42. meanestgenius

Posts: 22773; Member since: May 28, 2014

The part of your post I agree with most is the part about devs being paid to keep apps off of other platforms. That is monopolistic and should not be allowed to happen. Devs and the companies responsible for such actions should be heavily fined. However, I wholeheartedly agree with CHOICE. Whether it's a big name, top 20 app or not, devs should always be allowed the choice to do it or not.

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