MobileMe’s legacy

“This week marks the 10th anniversary of MobileMe, Apple’s third attempt at a cloud service designed for consumers,” Stephen Hackett writes for 512 Pixels. “The service has a pretty rough reputation, but to understand why, we need to talk about the product itself and what went wrong.”

“Perhaps most damaging was the headline on Walt Mossberg’s review: ‘Apple’s MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable,'” Hackett writes. “I mean, damn.”

“According to an article for Fortune by Adam Lashinsky, Jobs had addressed MobileMe’s failures with the team directly: ‘Steve Jobs doesn’t tolerate duds. Shortly after the launch event, he summoned the MobileMe team, gathering them in the Town Hall auditorium in Building 4 of Apple’s campus, the venue the company uses for intimate product unveilings for journalists. According to a participant in the meeting, Jobs walked in, clad in his trademark black mock turtleneck and blue jeans, clasped his hands together, and asked a simple question: ‘Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?’ Having received a satisfactory answer, he continued, ‘So why the f— doesn’t it do that?”” Hackett writes. “Lashinsky went on: ‘For the next half-hour Jobs berated the group. ‘You’ve tarnished Apple’s reputation,’ he told them. ‘You should hate each other for having let each other down.’ The public humiliation particularly infuriated Jobs. Walt Mossberg, the influential Wall Street Journal gadget columnist, had panned MobileMe. ‘Mossberg, our friend, is no longer writing good things about us,’ Jobs said. Clearly, that headline had grabbed Jobs’ attention.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: MobileMe goes a long way toward helping us appreciate iCloud.

Apple extends complimentary iCloud storage for a full year to former MobileMe members – October 5, 2012
After much recent flakiness, Apple claims MobileMe services restored – September 30, 2011
Apple explains MobileMe to iCloud transition – June 6, 2011
Steve Jobs to those responsible for MobileMess: ‘You should hate each other’ – May 8, 2011
Mossberg retests Apple’s MobileMe: Service now prompt and reliable – April 16, 2009
Full text of Steve Jobs’ memo to MobileMe team – August 06, 2008
Steve Jobs says MobileMe launched too early, not up to Apple’s standards; puts Eddy Cue in charge – August 05, 2008
Apple should have launched MobileMe as ‘beta’ – July 28, 2008
Mossberg: Apple’s MobileMe far too flawed to be reliable – July 24, 2008


  1. In some ways, MobileMe works better than iCloud.

    I never had problems with it. iCloud, on the other hand, does the damnedest things with individual files.

  2. No Apple cloud, and almost no consumer cloud, is reliable or private or secure. No guarantees in the user agreement, so why exactly does anyone trust consumer-grade subscription services for anything important?

    Business class data hosting has come a long way, but you pay dearly for it. Local hosting does take a competent data manager, but its cheap, hardware is reliable, and you have control.

    Not sure why anyone thinks that Apple, a middle man who relies on Amazon & Google & Microsoft & Akamai to host Apple’s own data, is a good choice for storing your data. It never was. iCloud remains a patchwork of badly thought out services that still don’t work reliably and seamlessly.

    1. Mike, you make some good points. I would submit though that there are certain services that are far more secure than most including Tresorit, Backblaze, SpiderOak, CertainSafe, and Mega. SpiderOak is interesting because they use a zero-knowledge system. They don’t know shit about your data. It’s encrypted before it hits their servers, and they don’t know your password. So don’t forget it. If you do, your data is lost.

    1. Just reading that description of Jobs, vs. the dish rag image of Tim Cook says it all. Apple went from a libertarian CEO who demanded perfection from individuals to a sopping collectivist who whines on endlessly about diversity. The guy cares more about counting genitals than building products that defy criticism. The Apple train is still being pulled by the steam and momentum of the Jobs locomotive.

    1. If you stopped using your .mac email for a season, Apple closed it and offers no way to begin using it again. I still use a .mac address for iTunes, but stopped using it for mail long ago.

    1. But the cloud is prone to outages, spotty coverage when mobile and hacking. A local drive is pretty solid.
      A number of years ago we went almost 4 days without power, phone, cable or internet. Since I had a local backup of my iTunes music library and my movies and TV, we were able to have TV whenever we desired. Had I depended upon a cloud service that would not have been possible.

  3. I still use my .mac account proudly and feel honored to have one. Once in a while, I get a nod of respect from veteran Mac fans that work at the Apple Store.

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