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BlackBerry head claims net neutrality should cover apps – pushing for Netflix and iMessage compatibility on BlackBerry

John Chen, the chief executive of BlackBerry, has claimed that the US government should ensure apps are available on all smartphones and operating systems in order to ensure net neutrality.

In particular, the BlackBerry head claimed that Apple and Netflix should not be able to restrict their services to specific devices as it enforces net inequality. On net neutrality, Chen said: “BlackBerry is uniquely positioned to comment on these issues. We are a Canadian company offering service to customers in more than 150 countries.

“Not all content and application providers have embraced openness and neutrality. Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple’s iMessage messaging service."

Chen also took a swipe at Netflix, claiming that despite it being an avid supporter of net neutrality, it lacks an app on BlackBerry smartphones, which Chen likened to “the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticized at the carrier level”.

Chen concluded: “If we truly want a free, open and non-discriminatory internet… all wireless broadband customers must have the ability to access any lawful applications and content they choose, and applications/content providers must be prohibited from discriminating based on the customer’s mobile operating system.”

9to5mac reporter Mike Beasley accused the BlackBerry head of using the net neutrality debate to get the “government to force other companies to help him get people interested in his products again – a goal he has thus far been unable to accomplish on his own”.