NY Times’ Pogue slams Apple over ‘MobileMess’

“On July 16, Apple took the very unusual step of sending an apology to all MobileMe members, saying that the launch ‘was a lot rockier than we had hoped.’ Fortunately, the letter went on, ‘we have worked through those problems and the Web apps are now up and running,'” David Pogue reports for The New York Times.

“It also said that Apple would stop using the word ‘push’ in its advertising until Macs and PCs did their syncing nearly instantly. It concluded with an apology, and a free one-month extension to every member’s subscription,” Pogue reports. “Unfortunately, MobileMe’s problems were nowhere near over.”

“People [have] started calling it ‘ImmobileMe’ and “‘MobileMess,'” Pogue reports.

“Maybe it wasn’t such a hot idea for Apple to launch four enormously complex initiatives — the iPhone 3G, the App Store, the iPhone 2.0 software update and MobileMe — all on the same day,” Pogue writes.

“It’s a little mind-boggling that today, nearly two weeks after MobileMe’s official opening, Apple still hasn’t solved the problem. That’s got to be a record in the short history of cloud computing,” Pogue writes. “But the real problem is how Apple is responding. For a company that’s so brilliant at marketing, it seems to have absolutely no clue about crisis management.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “klapka” and “Citymark” for the heads up.]

Just in case anybody missed our Take from Mossberg’s excoriation of Apple’s MobileMe earlier today, we’ll repeat it here: “Apple screwed the pooch with their MobileMe launch. First impressions mean everything. See: Newton. It’s painfully obvious that heads should roll over this mess. To those responsible: you failed. Miserably. If Jobs hasn’t axed you yet, he should have. He probably wants you to try to fix it first, but, come on Steve: “Bozo Alert!” Get someone on this who knows what the hell they’re doing. Apple MobileMe employees: Don’t worry, it’ll be fine, we hear that Microsoft is looking for people; you’ll fit in just fine up there. In fact, so far, this whole MobileMe thing is positively Microsoftian, and that’s being overly kind.”

We’re pulling all ads for MobileMe until further notice. If we miss some or one of them slips through via third-party ad network, please do not subscribe to MobileMe until Apple gets their act together. We’ll resume running ads for MobileMe when we’re more confident in the service.


  1. I’m overseas working and my internet access is patchy to write back home to my Mom and Dad / Friends. The very few times that I’ve had access since MobileMe and I wanted to send me Mom or Dad an email the freaking email is down! Additionally non of my mail messages are syncing and I can’t upload files to iDisk – PLUS WHY THE HELL DID THEY MAKE THE NEW IDISK ICON PINK FROM THE COOL BLUE .MAC GLOBE!!! What the hell is going on Apple!!!

  2. Wow, Steve may have to hustle back from vacation on this one…if he hasn’t already.

    Once he gets back, I’d hate to be on that MobileMe team. Once he gets back, the MobileMe team may not be on the MobileMe team!

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  3. Yeah the mobileme team is pretty much toast. Steve is probably going to stomp the guts out of whomever is responsible for the failed launch. Or more likely he will have his security detail beat the crap out of them so he won’t have to.
    I have sympathy for Steve on this one.

    However, what I don’t have sympathy for is Steve insisting on continuing the NDA on the iphone developers when it should be lifted by now. The iphone dev community needs the NDA to go away so they can build their community and network and teach each other how to program for the iphone.
    Right now their hands are tied.
    This oversite by Steve is unforgivable until he drops the NDA on it.

  4. Finally someone is pointing out how Apple’s “we don’t talk about stuff” policy is really hurting it now that their market share is up.

    Interesting to note also, that the “1%” refers to the 20,000 or so people without any email at all. I have had email since the beginning, but it’s unusably slow, error prone and randomly deletes my mail. I have heard the same from so many others that the real figure of how many people are screwed by MobileMe is more like hundreds of thousands.

    Also, as many others have similarly wondered … Even if one of the main mail servers went down, why oh why would they not have a backup server? It boggles the mind to think that with all the money they collected for .Mac over the years, they didn’t think to buy another server to back up the mail.

  5. Received an email from apple for a MobileMe trial, perhaps I’ll wait a bit longer before giving it a try.

    I still believe that even on Apple’s worst day, they are vastly superior to Microsoft on their best.

  6. Not a great rollout, but for what MobileMe does today(not tomorrow, which I hope is even more) I’m pretty pleased. Push email happens very nicely to the phone, as well as contacts and calendars pushing down very consistently. I want better To Dos and Notes syncing (for about a year now), but otherwise the rockiness is over. Nice service. Needs to grow.

  7. Right now it’s a steaming pile of crap for me. Can’t access my mail at times. None of my Smartmailboxes, rules, or signatures work. iCal event colours are all screwed up on my iPhone IF they update at all. Add in all the iPhone2.0 bugs, Leopard instability, and it’s a pretty lousy all-round experience that’s making me pine for the days of Panther (10.3).

    Now I hear Apple is planning another “transition” after still not getting the bugs out of the last two OS releases.

    What happened to “It just works”?????

  8. MobileMe works fine for me. I have had a couple of MobileMe mail outages, but nothing that wasn’t easy for me to work around. This isn’t my only mail account.

    I’ve been using this service from the beginning, and its reliable syncing has kept me in the fold.

  9. I think we’re seeing that Apple needs to expand it’s workforce. There simply isn’t enough personnel (or qualified personnel) to handle all of these new products at the same time. Quality is suffering, and that will drag down Apple’s reputation of “It just works.”

    I would hate to see Apple’s market share expansion derailed by quality issues. This MobileMe rollout is a huge black eye. Apple screwed up handling people’s most important data, and some people won’t forgive Apple for that.

    If you’re a business who was thinking about switching to Macs and iPhones, you now have to think twice about having Apple handling your data. You at minimum need to wait until the MobileMe debacle gets corrected and then wait several more months to see if any other problems develop.

    Not good for Apple. Hire and train more people to get the job done right (and on time!).

  10. My email is working fine but, I have three friends that have there email down for several days now. I only have two other friends that have .mac email addresses so that puts it at a 50% failure rate for the people I know.

    I wish Apple had already come out with the iTele so I could just teleport myself into the future where everybody is happy again.

  11. Not perfect at first but working great right now. I love that I can take snapshots from my iPhone, send it to MobileME, choose the gallery I want to sent it to and poof, it’s there! Pretty amazing IMO.

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