Apple to rename .Mac and make it free (ad-supported)?

“It’s exactly one week until Steve Jobs takes the stage the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference to present another basket of fetish objects to his many worshipers,” Saul Hansell reports for The New York Times.

MacDailyNews Take: Hey, Saul, why don’t you stuff the extremely tired “fetish objects for worshipers” B.S. up your… write something original for a change? Sideways.

Hansell continues, “The diviners have fully examined the pigeon entrails and shipping manifests to prophesize the rebirth of the iPhone: It is said to surf faster, know its location better, and take pictures with more pixels. And it might even be cheaper.”

“Now there is a flurry of speculation about improvements to a minor icon an the Apple Pantheon: the .Mac online service. For six years, .Mac has been a $100 a year bundle of handy Internet services, now including e-mail, online hosting, backup, photo sharing, and tools to synchronize calendars and address books. Industry reports say Apple has between 1 million and 2 million subscribers,” Hansell reports.

“Those diving into the latest update to Apple’s operating system found that it no longer contains the text ‘.Mac’ but uses a variable ‘%@’ so the name can be updated on the fly by Apple. Indeed, hidden in the software is the phrase ‘%@ is the new name of Apple’s online service (was .Mac),'” Hansell reports. “Saturday, John Gruber at Daring Fireball found that ‘Me.Com’ appears to be owned by Apple.”

“The introduction of the successor to .Mac may offer a window into how Mr. Jobs sees advertising and the future of Apple. If the service, or a large part of it, is free with advertising, this may be the beginning of a shift that could build a significant new revenue source for the company (and possibly lead to a shift in the structure of the music business),” Hansell reports.

Full article here.


  1. Even if this comes to fruition (and it’s really just wild speculation), I would pay to get the version *without* adds.

    Everyone is fond of whining about how expensive .Mac is just because about half of it’s offerings can be had for free elsewhere, but it’s only 8 bucks a month, which is hardly a couple of cups of coffee nowadays.

    I would certainly rather pay 8 bucks a month for the service being ad-free and pleasant to use as opposed to free but peppered with ugly adverts. If you want an ugly poorly designed complicated advert-infested POS web portal, then there are already many of that variety available out there.

  2. So this guy spends a good part of the day reading really interesting slouthing reported on Mac fan sites. Purt a sacrastic spin on it all. Adds idle speculation that the revamped .Mac site could be all or partially paid for by add revenue (what a novel idea). and then makes a living doint it. What a world.

  3. ” … I would pay to get the version *without* ads …. “

    Everyone says that they would pay for the privilege of NOT seeing ads, but what if MDN went to a subscription model with no ads or annoying pop-ups. How many of you would pay for that? Just wondering.

    I think an ad based .mac model would have way more subscribers than you think. Although I would be surprised if Jobs pursued that path.

  4. Here’s something to keep in mind. If the estimates of 1 – 2 million .Mac users are even close to accurate (and I am one of them), this means at a minimum that .Mac represents a $100M/year business to Apple. For a 24 billion dollar company like Apple, that’s 4% of revenue. Not insignificant, especially when you consider that the margins on the service are probably extraordinarily good.

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