Apple should have launched MobileMe as ‘beta’

“Intended to supplant the company’s aging .Mac Web service, MobileMe is meant to make Apple a player in the online portal world now dominated by Yahoo, Microsoft and Google. So far it has served only to tarnish Apple’s reputation for producing solid, pain-free, software,” John Markoff blogs for The New York Times.

“Fumbling MobileMe has revealed a previously hidden side of Apple that suggests that a decade of increasingly strong products has left the quirky computer maker with a bit too much hubris. Apple obviously bit off more than the company could chew two weeks ago when it shipped a second-generation iPhone, updated six million existed iPhone customers to a new software version and rebranded its .Mac service all within the space of a 24-hour period,” Markoff reports.

“It was particularly unusual for a Steve Jobs marketing event. In recent years there has increasingly been One Big Thing insuring that consumers aren’t distracted from the message of the moment,” Markoff reports.

“Obviously a better strategy would have been to stage the software and hardware and to have launched MobileMe as ‘beta,’ giving the company air cover to patch the more than 70 bugs it has acknowledged in just two weeks of being hammered on by frustrated Macintosh devotees,” Markoff reports.

“One thing that has been interesting to watch has been Silicon Valley’s reaction to the MobileMe meltdown. There has been no shortage of schadenfreude. At Google, for example, two executives separately noted with some glee that Apple might have considered outsourcing the service to the search-engine provider,” Markoff reports.

Full article here.

Also blogging for The New York Times, David Pogue writes, “It would have been a lot better if MobileMe had worked great from Day One. It would have been better if Apple had been this candid from the beginning.”

Pogue writes, “But at least Apple has finally provided what thousands of people have been aching for: honesty, transparency, and, above all, a sympathetic ear.”

Full article here.


  1. Just like Jim Cramer usually says on Mad Money, woulda, shoulda, coulda, is BS mentality..
    This is the past, mistake is done, now it’s about fixing it and focussing on today’s opportunities.
    It’s really about what Apple should do as off today to deliver everything that was advertised and more.

  2. No, I don’t think they should have released it as a beta. If it was ready then they simply messed up the launch by not properly preparing for it. Then again, I think the problem might have been that the mobileme team promised Steve it would be ready on time but it wasn’t. Because if mobileme was not ready Steve Jobs would not have announced it as launching at the time that it did. He would have waited.
    Yup, I think its a case where the mobileme team lead either lied or incorrectly determined the product was going to be ready.
    I’m sure Jobs is still feasting on this guy’s ribs as we speak.

  3. The poor, sad little ” The Great Apple Fanboy Massacre” fanboi says “in typical Apple fashion”.

    Please elaborate what’s “typical” about this situation?

    Either that, or get out of mommies basement and get a life.

  4. TGAFM,

    All well and good except for the minor point that Apple has given the first 30 days free to all MobileMe subscribers.

    Nobody has paid a cent for the service, yet.

    By the time we do, it’s a good bet that the majority of the problems will be solved.

    You were saying?

  5. “… if mobileme was not ready Steve Jobs would not have announced it as launching at the time that it did…. ” – Olternaut

    Perhaps even his majesty Steve Jobs didn’t expect that much of a traffic overload…
    People rushed in high numbers from minute 1, to use MobileMe like it’s a gold mine.

  6. …The classical “Trap of success”… One can easely feel immortal in a time where everything seems to smile and leed to a bright cloudless futur… But Apple is working hard on it and will pull out some wisdom of this experience, i guess.

  7. I could not agree more!

    This has been and continues to be a beta implementation – I have calendar events I add on a MacBook Pro – they show up on MobileME and the iPhone, but don’t show up on either the MBP or my MacPro! I have reset and re-synced off of the cloud and the events just don’t show up.

    Very disappointing.

  8. I have said it a few times before, but it bears saying … Apple is *not* being open, honest, or transparent in any way here. It’s just a PR exercise that has (apparently) worked.

    Only a fool would believe that only 1% of users had problems and only a fool would believe it’s “fixed” once that 1% can (technically) access their email.

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