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  (Source: Wired)
Apple's leader say MobileMe not up to snuff, is going back to the drawing board

One of the most popular services among Apple fans was the .Mac subscription service.  To coincide with the release of the iPhone 3G and further excite its dedicated fan base into a frenzy, Apple announced that it would be launching an updated version of its subscription service and all existing users would be migrated to the upgraded service.

Originally iTools, a free subscription service, .Mac evolved into a large community with over 100,000 users.  The yearly fees were $99.95 and various discounts were available.  For the fee, users got 1 GB (and later 10 GB) of storage or for a premium 2 GB or 5 GB of storage (later 20 GB or 50 GB).  They also got an Apple email address and a hosted webpage, as well as various other minor services.

The new MobileMe was an ambitious upgrade, bringing to the table improved calendar functionality, with the ability to sync to Microsoft Outlook or Apple's offerings.  It also featured improved web publishing tools and more photo options.

However, to say the release had a few problems would be putting it mildly.  The day of the release, July 10, many users could not download the update to install the service.  Secondly, those users who did finally get the new service were angered to see that the promised "iDisk File Sharing" service was not included.  Apple argued that all its services were "subject to change".

The file syncing was filled with glitches and many users reported losing photos during uploading.  After the first wave of problems, Apple's MobileMe team groveled a bit by writing users a humble apology stating, "We want to apologize to our loyal customers and express our appreciation for their patience by giving all current subscribers an automatic 30-day extension to their MobileMe subscription free of charge."

And then they went on to say, "We have recently completed the transition from .Mac to MobileMe. Unfortunately, it was a lot rockier than we had hoped."

This phrase infuriated users, who were still experiencing numerous problems.  Among these was Apple's push email service which was not working properly.  Apple's team tried to brush that off, saying that calling the service "push" email was a bit of a misnomer and a mistake on their part.  They stated, "Another snag we have run into is our use of the word "push" in describing everything under the MobileMe umbrella."

Problems continued to mount with many users being logged out and repeatedly asked for passwords and met with "damage" webpages.  The iWeb publishing service also was not working and publication was iffy at best.

One frustrated Apple fan reported, "I just spent the better part of an hour going through Apple's phone support maze only to be told that we are basically all hosed for at least a week. If you are a .Mac user and are trying to publish iWeb content via this MobileMe(ss), you can forget about it for now. It doesn't work. Period. There are huge bugs, and Apple is well aware of them."

Next Apple pulled another bad move in the eyes of many when it automatically checked an option in a Windows iTunes update to install MobileMe software.  Many users compared this to Apple's Safari download scandal that broke a few months back. 

Later in July, Apple's MobileMe email went down mysteriously.  Users could not access their email at all.  The beleaguered MobileMe team released a comment stating, "We understand this is a serious issue and apologize for this service interruption. We are working hard to restore your service."

On its status page, Apple claimed the outage only affected one percent of users, but acknowledged that 10 percent of emails were lost to internet gremlins.  Finally July 30, the Apple employee handed the unfortunate job of doling out MobileMe apologies, a character by the name of David G., stated that the problems were fixed, saying, "Thank you all for your extreme patience during this trying time.  By completing this restoration of Mail services, we hope we have put the vast majority of MobileMe Mail problems behind us and can now focus on improving other aspects of this new ambitious service."

The MobileMe woes were bad enough they attracted the attention of king bee himself, Apple CEO Steve Jobs.  He sent out an internal email to Apple employees, which was predictably leaked, stating that the service was released too early and was "not up to Apple's standards".  He said services should have been rolled out gradually as opposed to "as a monolithic service".  He adds, "It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store.  We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence."

While many would agree with Jobs’ assessment of the insignificance of the MobileMe service, the comment likely does not sit very well with MobileMe's 100k+ disgruntled users.

In response to the mistakes, Steve Jobs is cracking down on the management of MobileMe, ousting them in favor of Eddy Cue, who will now be in charges of all Apple internet services --  iTunes, the App Store, and now MobileMe.  He will report directly to Jobs. 

Jobs believes that he, Apple, and the MobileMe team have learned their lesson as he states, "The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services.  And learn we will. The vision of MobileMe is both exciting and ambitious, and we will press on to make it a service we are all proud of by the end of this year."


Updated 8/5/2008
Ars Technica just posted the full text of Steve Jobs' email to the troops:
Team,

The launch of MobileMe was not our finest hour.  There are several things we could have done better:

– MobileMe was simply not up to Apple's standards – it clearly needed more time and testing.

– Rather than launch MobileMe as a monolithic service, we could have launched over-the-air syncing with iPhone to begin with, followed by the web applications one by one – Mail first, followed 30 days later (if things went well with Mail) by Calendar, then 30 days later by Contacts.

– It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store.  We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.

We are taking many steps to learn from this experience so that we can grow MobileMe into a service that our customers will love.  One step that I can share with you today is that the MobileMe team will now report to Eddy Cue, who will lead all of our internet services – iTunes, the App Store and, starting today, MobileMe.  Eddy's new title will be Vice President, Internet Services and he will now report directly to me.

The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services.  And learn we will.  The vision of MobileMe is both exciting and ambitious, and we will press on to make it a service we are all proud of by the end of this year.

Steve


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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

iFools & the king bee
By crystal clear on 8/5/2008 11:06:55 AM , Rating: 5
The king bee knows very well there is no shortage of iFools willing to pay to test apple products & services.

So business as usual....




RE: iFools & the king bee
By tayhimself on 8/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: iFools & the king bee
By nosfe on 8/5/2008 11:31:17 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
At least Jobs isn't throwing chairs around but admitting to mistakes and trying to correct them.


where are you seeing Jobs admitting to mistakes? all i saw was some random guy saying sorry(actually that guy didn't even say "sorry") and Jobs writing an internal email where he was throwing chairs at the MobileMe team


RE: iFools & the king bee
By mcmilljb on 8/5/2008 11:52:01 AM , Rating: 4
I would love to see Steve Jobs throwing iChairs around! That would be awesome!


RE: iFools & the king bee
By LatinMessiah on 8/5/2008 6:06:05 PM , Rating: 2
heck yeah!


RE: iFools & the king bee
By fibreoptik on 8/6/2008 9:42:49 AM , Rating: 3
iChairs!? When do those come out?? I'm sooo lining up like 5 days before hand with my iGirlfriend, iTent, iCooler and iColemanStove.

Woohoo! :D


RE: iFools & the king bee
By DASQ on 8/6/2008 1:45:20 PM , Rating: 2
THERE IS NO EXIT STRATEGY!


RE: iFools & the king bee
By crystal clear on 8/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: iFools & the king bee
By mikefarinha on 8/5/2008 12:26:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah it has an unforgivably stupid name.


I agree it should have been called "iMe"


RE: iFools & the king bee
By mikefarinha on 8/5/2008 12:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, meant to say

I agree it should have been called "iMe," that would have been much better!


RE: iFools & the king bee
By sprockkets on 8/5/2008 5:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
It would have been successful if it had the "i" in front of it.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By KernD on 8/5/2008 12:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to point out that there is no point in paying Apple every year for services you will get elsewhere for free.

Web page hosting, email, storage(hotmail does that for example)... this is realy a good example of paying for the brand.

So yea, they should be called iFools, after all, apple started this sh.., we're just fighting fire with fire here.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By kelmon on 8/5/2008 12:42:00 PM , Rating: 2
Sort of. MobileMe and .mac before it had the advantage of bringing all those services together in one place and then making them easily accessible to 3rd party applications via the programming frameworks. As such you'll find a lot of Mac applications that take advantage of MobileMe/.mac services. Whether that is useful to you, of course, is something else.

More than anything else you are paying for convenience. Unfortunately, if you are paying for a service then you should also expect that it is flawless and MobileMe clearly hasn't been.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By kelmon on 8/5/2008 12:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
There's a video kicking around from an old MacWorld where he tries to demonstrate connecting a digital camera to a Mac (in the days when a digital camera looked like a brick) and it doesn't work. He ends up throwing it back to the engineer and is evidentially less than pleased. I suspect the engineer responsible probably never worked again...


RE: iFools & the king bee
By Steve Guilliot on 8/5/2008 12:47:00 PM , Rating: 4
What are you talking about? This is the first negative Apple story in a very long time. Apple gets more than its fair share of positive coverage around here, so you're better off putting your "leave Apple alone!" comments in a YouTube video.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By kelmon on 8/6/2008 3:03:26 AM , Rating: 2
Kinda depends on whether you class 7 days as a long time or not:

http://www.dailytech.com/Apples+iPhone+3G+All+Crac...

Both stories are, however, deserved. I suspect that the comment is more to do with any story involving Apple to bring out comments effectively along the lines of "Apple sux" rather than with the content or angle of the story itself. DailyTech knows its audience and knows that any story about Apple will bring a lot of page hits from people who can't stand the company or its products and who want to vent their spleen in the comments. This is something that pretty much every tech site can rely on so it's all good for the advertising revenue.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By borismkv on 8/6/2008 7:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
iDiot.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By Chaser on 8/5/2008 11:48:39 AM , Rating: 4
The Iphone is a remarkable phone. I bought one 1 week ago and its features, very people friendly interface and design is superb. Its integration with the IPOD touch is also very well laid out.

I have no manufacturer preferences or blind loyalty beyond my budget and product quality.

Please don't behave foolishly and paint with a broad stroke just because you don't have one.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By rdeegvainl on 8/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: iFools & the king bee
By crystal clear on 8/5/2008 12:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Please don't behave foolishly and paint with a broad stroke just because you don't have one.


I dont need this thrash - prefer the blackberries & the nokias .......

i know many who got swept away by the iThrash wave, till they landed ashore bruised & regreting....


RE: iFools & the king bee
By Hare on 8/5/2008 12:19:26 PM , Rating: 2
...and I know many who are very happy with their Apple products.

I just don't understand your rant. If you don't like them don't buy them and feel free to criticize. I don't understand why people resort to childish crapple, itrash etc name calling (almost as bad as "M$") and thinking that all the people who use Apple products are brain washed idiots.

Different tools for different purposes. Live and let live...


RE: iFools & the king bee
By Chaser on 8/5/2008 12:33:59 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I see. You know some people that aren't happy. How insightful. Regardless of your expert and certainly unbiased opinion it's an extremely popular phone. Well for many anyway.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By INeedCache on 8/6/2008 2:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
I was reading in a trade magazine today about some interesting failings with regard to security with a few aspects of the iPhone. Things should get interesting for those who chose it, especially for business use.


RE: iFools & the king bee
By fibreoptik on 8/6/2008 9:47:19 AM , Rating: 2
don't forget about the horrible battery life, cracking cheapo plastic they are now using rather than aluminum (read: corner cutting to increase their bottom line) and forcing you to use the mobile provider of their choice.

we won't get into the whole iBricking flame war again... unless you guys figure that would be amusing :p


RE: iFools & the king bee
By robinthakur on 8/6/2008 4:59:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I dont need this thrash


Listen fool, I believe you mean iTrash not iThrash. Being illiterate does not strengthen your opinion and you speak with all the concrete certainty and world experience of somebody who's never used an iPhone. I don't know anybody who genuinely regrets buying an iPhone, if they did they'd return it wouldn't they? I certainly would...

I also am able to afford one (White 16GB) so neena neena! ;p


RE: iFools & the king bee
By crystal clear on 8/6/2008 10:46:21 AM , Rating: 2
You are spoony.....

There is NO point discussing with somebody who use every opportunity to fling some insults to prove his point.

As for iTHRASH - I intentional put it that way for emphasis.

Dont wish to discuss any further on this topic.

But read this - This applies to you....

iPhone users can now buy themselves a picture of a red gem to display on their handsets, purely to demonstrate they've got enough money to throw $999.99 at such a pointless gesture.

The application - subtly entitled "I am rich" - is available through Apple's Application Store, though we're not clear if anyone has bought a copy as yet. Americans are being asked for $999.99.

When run "I Am Rich" simply displays a red gem and accompanying glow, letting the world know that the owner has more money than sense - though some would argue that ownership of an iPhone already denotes that to some degree.



http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/08/06/iphone_poi...



Bye ! dont expect any further responses


RE: iFools & the king bee
By chick0n on 8/6/2008 9:59:54 AM , Rating: 1
remarkable ? ROFL !

sorry I cant stop laughing. well if u compare your anicent Startac to iPhone then yeah, its pretty remarkable.


I love saying this...
By cochy on 8/5/2008 11:25:03 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
automatically checked an option in a Windows iTunes update to install MobileMe software


iTunes is malware.




RE: I love saying this...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/5/2008 12:33:16 PM , Rating: 3
If they keep that Apple Updater pulling in stuff its not supposed to by default, then yea it is. I wouldn't be surprised if someone classified the Apple Updater as malware, it sure acts like it.


RE: I love saying this...
By nitrous9200 on 8/5/2008 1:46:54 PM , Rating: 3
You could always uninstall the updater, as I always do on any system infected with iTunes. I also uninstall the other crap it brings along with it: bonjour and mobile device support; removing those also frees up a lot of memory because it doesn't need to run two more services on top of the iTunes Helper and iPod Helper. I can't believe iTunes needs all of this (plus QuickTime) to run...
btw, Apple's products are ALWAYS supposed to be perfect and superior to everything else. That's how their fanboys describe them, so when it's not that way, which is quite a bit of the time, the rest of us like to milk it as much as we can to rub it in. That's the way it is in life. But still, you can't discount all of the problems that Apple has been having with this service. If the same thing happened to Microsoft, it would be all over the news.


RE: I love saying this...
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/6/2008 8:05:20 AM , Rating: 2
I removed it. Unfortunately if you hadn't noticed the updater puts itself in the scheduled jobs which annoys you every thursday lol.


RE: I love saying this...
By fibreoptik on 8/6/2008 9:50:07 AM , Rating: 1
Yep, you are absolutely correct. Each time I remove it with msconfig, there is magically a new service startup entry in my config. Thanks for the malware Steve!


Same old line...same old false advertising
By cochy on 8/5/2008 11:32:23 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Another snag we have run into is our use of the word "push" in describing everything under the MobileMe umbrella."


Yes. Exactly how they described the hard drive inside the Time Capsule as "Server Grade", even though the hard drive inside it is a Hitachi Deskstar which is consumer gradeas opposed to the Ultrastar. Hitachi even has issues with Apple billing it as such.

Now they are using the buzz word "push" in the wrong context as well.




RE: Same old line...same old false advertising
By biggsjm on 8/5/2008 11:49:17 AM , Rating: 2
Its considered server grade, not because of the specific product line, but rather because of the MTBF (mean-time before failure). It falls within 'server-class' specifications.

Selling Mobile Me as 'push' when it clearly is not when syncing from the desktop to the web or iphone would seem to me as a sacrifice that was made to keep the Mobile Me sync transactions to minimum while the server issues were sorted out. Most likely, they sent this functionality back to the drawing board and will re-implement by EOY (see Jobs' comments).


By cochy on 8/5/2008 11:55:20 AM , Rating: 3
I don't think it's as simple as that. Your buying from a vendor's consumer product line yet call it server-grade. I don't care how long the MTBF is, there is a [i]desktop[/i] hard drive in there and you are [u]misleading[/u] people in thinking there is a highly quality part inside.


By kamel5547 on 8/5/2008 4:25:00 PM , Rating: 3
Hitachi does NOT publish a MTBF:
http://www.hitachigst.com/hddt/knowtree.nsf/dd73cf...

MTBF is extremely misleading at best, server grade should be based on the vendors specifications not a third party's definition.

The problem with MTBF is inherent in the way the number is generated (Hitachi describes it on the linked page), from my experience the numbers are way off of actual use. Based on MTBF failure rates should be about 1% per year, Google's study showed rates at about 15%, my experience has failures fluxuating between 10-15%.


Primetime
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/5/2008 11:01:54 AM , Rating: 5
Welcome to prime time Apple. If it doesn't work, get better damage control. While something no working on launch is nothing new in the tech world, poor damage control, constant back pedaling, and to a lesser extent, the degree of screwup were not in line with industry norms.




RE: Primetime
By robinthakur on 8/6/2008 4:48:10 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, I own an iPhone and this is indefensible. Its positive that Jobs is taking the failures seriously and already changing management etc. but its worrying that a company as big as Apple can screw something like this up. You'd think with their experience with .mac they could pull it out of the hat but clearly it overreached its potential and not enough testing was carried out.

Once this settles it should be a decent service offering along the lines of what MS/Google would like to be doing but i8ts sad when the early adopters most likely won't ever trust it again. I'm not an Apple hater, but I am a realist! To prove I'm not an Apple hater, the firmware update 2.0.1 seems to have cured the couple of annoyances I had with the iPhone 3G and I'm way happy again :)


Reperations
By Bosaka on 8/5/2008 11:12:02 AM , Rating: 2
I know they gave an extra 30 days already. But if it's still not the correct service by the end of the year I think more credit should be issued. I was completely content using .Mac and then they forced this garbage on me.




Arrogance; good if it's learnt from
By ATC on 8/5/2008 11:36:31 AM , Rating: 2
Apple was too confident in itself to launch so many products/services at the same time. MobileMe was the unfortunate division in the process that got the least attention it seems and they're paying for it.

For what it's worth, I find MobileMe a lot better and more useable and intuitive than .mac ever was (having used both). I did lose access to my .mac (now MobileMe) email account for 3 days when trying to view through the browser (www.me.com) but I never lost access to it, not even for an hour, through Mail; I had it setup through the Mail program in OSX. Same goes for all other .mac services including web gallery and published calendars etc... I guess I was one of the lucky ones.

I suppose if I was on the road without my notebook needing to view the MobileMe site for checking email and other things, I'd be pretty upset too.

I'm happy with the 30 day extension on my account but I think others who had a lot more issues than me would probably never really be happy with how apple handled this. Maybe they can learn from it to avoid anything like it in the future. It looks like Jobs is pretty pissed about it and that's not a bad thing.




MobileMe 2... I can't wait.
By GoodBytes on 8/5/2008 5:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
I can't wait for MobileMe2. It will be awesome. It will only work with iPhone3G 2, and will drop support for old devices... like Snow Leopard. :) No wonder sells of Apple are up! [/joke]




ME
By milodog on 8/5/2008 10:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
Apple whats wrong with you? Dont you know that anything branded ME never works out, just ask Microsoft.




really?
By dickeywang on 8/6/2008 8:56:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
For the fee, users got 1 GB (and later 10 GB) of storage or for a premium 2 GB or 5 GB of storage (later 20 GB or 50 GB). They also got an Apple email address and a hosted webpage, as well as various other minor services.


Someone these days are still paying $99/year for all these services which can be found free everywhere?




By fibreoptik on 8/6/2008 9:31:00 AM , Rating: 2
Do it again and I'll kick you square in the NUTS! (if you have any)




By TechMojo on 8/6/2008 12:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
Was Steve Ballmer involved with the rollout of MobileMe? It's got Steve Ballmer written all over it.




bugs-bugs
By swizeus on 8/6/2008 12:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
Too bad for a high class apple...

Apple should have add the label "test run" or "ver 0.01" in their website so people would not mad at them




Steve Jobs :0
By Cracker on 8/6/2008 9:38:00 PM , Rating: 2
i would love to see steve get mad. he gets pretty violent when he's mad.




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