Netflix/Instagram – Where is the Logic?


As we all know, these are two big name apps yet to make their way over to BlackBerry even though both are available in the Amazon app store (yes Apple, I called it Amazon app store) and seem to have been blocked for some unknown reason.

So given how inexplicable this is, I took it upon myself to do a little digging and see what could possibly be the reasoning behind this?  Why would any company purposely avoid potential growth? I had a quick chat with Netflix online customer service to see if I could get some answers.  I won’t bore you with the whole conversation but here are a few snippets from the discussion with Franco of online support.

My initial question was regarding an app for BlackBerry 10 as we all know this would be the ideal for everyone.  The response I received was:

The reason is that we don’t support Blackberry right now and that is because of the contract or deal to have the app.  From my personal knowledge I know that Blackberry has asked Netflix to get an app some time ago, but I couldn’t really tell you why aren’t we developing it yet Ray. when I mentioned about the deal, it’s because of that, if Blackberry had asked Netflix to develop the app, and we haven’t, could be due to we haven’t gotten into a deal, or several other reasons which I have no access to.

A contract or deal to have an app?  What does this mean?  Does Netflix want money? Are their subscription fees not enough? Last I checked, any developer can submit any app to BlackBerry World without needing a “deal”.

I then decided to explain that BB10 has the ability to run android apps and their android app could simply be ported over.   I also explained the agreement with Amazon to have Amazon app store apps available on BB10 devices.   Also questioning why it would be blocked from that Amazon app store for BB10 devices.  Franco’s response again:

when I mentioned about the deal, it’s because of that, if Blackberry had asked Netflix to develop the app, and we haven’t, could be due to we haven’t gotten into a deal, or several other reasons which I have no access to.

Again complete disregard for the fact that development isn’t actually required to unblock the app from the place they already developed it for.  I realized this was going nowhere fast.  I’m just really curious as to what kind of deal Netflix requires before they allow their app?  I mean, it must be something amazing given they are passing up on a potential market of more than 10 million or so customers who have BB10 devices.  If anyone wants to see the full conversation, don’t hesitate to ask.

Where is the logic?

And this brings me to Instagram.  Again another app that many have been able to run on their BlackBerry 10 devices using the Android version and would only require a port and a few tweaks to enable notifications.  Due to the lack of response from Instagram many, including myself have turned to third party clients such as iGrann (which by the way, I feel is a superior app and experience to the original).

Recently, looking BlackBerry World, I noticed that iGrann has been downloaded over 6 million times.  Yes you read that right…6 MILLION downloads that Instagram could have had.  Are all these new users?  Not likely but the vast majority would be.

So like I said earlier.  Where is the logic? Why are these companies willing to give up such potential and more importantly growth opportunities?  I don’t have the answer and I don’t we ever will get it but I have a feeling many of you have an idea.

What do you think?  Where is the logic?





  • Canuckvoip

    When you look at this list

    You have to wonder just what the “real deal” is…

  • Anthony

    Many apps definitely are not showing-up on my Passport when I search Amazon’s app store. I use Cobalt to access Google Play when the app isn’t available in Amazon’s app store. In Google Play everything shows-up.

    I know once I contacted Rockstar games about bringing “more” GTA games to Amazon because I already had GTA Vice City on my Passport from Amazon’s app store. A couple of weeks later GTA Vice City no longer shows-up in searches and every other GTA game is blocked from BB10 searches.


  • jrohland

    Could it be someone paid them to not support BlackBerry? There is only one company I think would be motivated to do that — Marshmallow Spongecake.

    • Anthony

      I do see a lot of Apple product placement in Netflix “Original Series ” projects. Perhaps Apple is financing part of the cost. The latest season of “House of Cards” is really pimping Apple devices…and Windows phone…and Samsung tablets.

      Microsoft is pimping their phones big time in TV shows and movies. I could easily see Microsoft pulling strings to prevent some key popular apps like Netflix from coming to BlackBerry World.


  • davemorgan

    There is a cost involved in developing, testing etc an app before it is released onto a platform. Despite the fact that an app can be ported it is still another service to be looked after and tested to make sure it works well. I guess some providers can’t (or don’t want to) provide the support, as BlackBerry becomes more relevant in the market place this will change.

    I agree someone somewhere is holding the purse strings and paying to keep apps to a limited Base. My guess is a fruity competitor with deep tax free pockets.

  • Zensen

    instagram is a non event as it’s not blocked nor does it require any sort of special services to run on current up to date BlackBerry 10 devices. Sure this could change for the better or for worse.

    I personally don’t bother with the native apps for instagram and use the android version. I don’t mind because it’s fast and I don’t use it as much.

    Netflix on the other hand who really gives an f other than those who seemingly need to point this out in reviews.

    Tbh both apps aren’t really needed but seemingly need to be on BlackBerry.

    This main reason is to stop the bickering. Some even give them to much credit thinking that if they come aboard more will follow.

    I’m not so sure of that.

    There’s certainly a deal going down on some platforms to have netflix as their main go to app.

    I’m not sure if amazon is paying anything at all as they have their own amazon type shows in the works and the only deal will be to show them on netflix in exchange for the app.

    Netflix believes it has the market cornered but looking outside the US it still has a way to go to appease users esp me who see their refusal to support my platform and even block it from amazon.

    ANYWAYS… who do you see watching netflix on a phone for hours on end? I don’t and I have many friends on other platforms who don’t give a shit.
    It would be great on long distance flights but who will always have internet on flights.

    Netflix on my ps4 makes more sense to me as I can enjoy it on the big screen.

    Watching on smaller screens is like downloading a cam :p

    You can do it but it’s not that satisfying esp if you’re going thru your mobile data plan.

  • Ray – I think it’s a good question you posed. It seems for many people, these two apps are the glaring omissions in BBWorld and make BB10 unattractive.

    Frankly, I agree with Zensen above on two counts 1) iGrann is really good and I don’t give a crap about Instagram’s version, and 2) As far as I’m concerned, Netflix has very limited utility on a small screen. My playbook is about the smallest I would want to enjoy a movie on. I get the argument that you can push content to your TV, but most TV’s now have access to that content directly. The only content I want to push to a TV is stuff I already have on my phone, that is more “one-off” like an occasional YouTube video or screen mirroring for use as a workstation, etc. If I’m going to sit down to watch a movie, I have several options of getting it on my flat screen. I’ve heard the airplane argument, but for me, even the 5″ screen of my Z30 is too small – 7″ feels the minimum.

  • web99

    Great post Ray,

    It just seems that netflix has a bias against BlackBerry. They recently developed an app for the original Nintendo. My guess is that they are just playing hardball with BlackBerry. It does not take much effort for them to unblock BlackBerry devices from being able to download it from the Amazon App Store.