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At $99 a year, I expect my online service to function all the time. So perhaps that is why I am a little upset that Apple hasn’t been able to launch their MobileMe service properly and are experiencing outages. The fact that the service was supposed […]

At $99 a year, I expect my online service to function all the time. So perhaps that is why I am a little upset that Apple hasn’t been able to launch their MobileMe service properly and are experiencing outages. The fact that the service was supposed to launch at a time of Apple’s choosing, leaves no room for excuses on today’s problems.

It is doubly disappointing because this is a for-pay and not some free service, where you get what you pay for. Many free services occassionaly suffer downtime. Apple’s DotMac service, predecessor to MobileMe was as temperamental as John McEnroe in his heyday. (Related Story: dotMac, time for a makeover.) The only saving grace is that my dot.mac email via the desktop client is working properly. Whew!

But I want to see a letter of apology and a refund for time lost to outage. Infact all paying services should be forced to refund the money for the time the services are down. That way the high cost of returning a couple of dollars is going to eat into their profits, making them work harder.

By Om Malik

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  1. At least they are adding custom domain support (spotted in screenshot at TUAW). Can’t wait to figure out if it works with exchange enabled devices!

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  2. I am a pretty big Apple customer–both personal and medium business–and I have seen Apple’s quality slide dramatically in the past two years.

    Whether it was shipping the Leopard client so early it required two of the largest patches in Apple’s history, to the last update of the iPod OS shipping with serious bugs, to massive issues in the hardware ranging from heat to noise to the numerous problems with displays across the lines, Apple’s quality is getting worse and worse. And yes, 2.0 of the iPhone OS is buggy as sin.

    And now they can’t get mobileme, a new service online. This is a huge, public failure.

    I like supporting the company, but Apple needs to understand that innovation without quality results in a niche company–if they’re lucky.

    I, for one, am ECSTATIC that this disaster with mobileme happened. Yes, that sounds counter-intuitive for a supporter of the company, but it’s true.

    This quality failure cannot be hidden from senior management. This cannot be fixed at the genius bar or with rapid patches.

    No, this failure is big. It is public. The mainstream media know it. It’s a total disaster and failure to execute.

    Now, hopefully, Apple’s leadership will see the rot that is growing in the company around QA and the sliding quality across the board, and apply serious energy and resources to creating a culture of innovation AND quality.

    No one will be happier than I to have an Apple that can both innovate and produce high quality products.

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  3. (and don’t even get me started on the quality issues with Leopard Server.)

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  4. My MobileMe isn’t working either, and I’m equally upset. =(

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  5. [...] venerable Om Malik wrote on GigaOM, “At $99 a year, I expect my online service to function all the time. So perhaps that is why [...]

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  6. Come on, Om. You know as well as anyone that just b/c you’re using a paid customer service, it doesn’t automatically grant you an SLA with 90% uptime. I dropped .mac after my one year subscription precisely b/c the service was terrible for what it provided. I don’t expect a rebranding to solve their technical problems anytime soon.

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  7. I went to sleep last night thinking it would be up this morning. No such luck, still down. Shocking.

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  8. [...] GigaOm: I Can’t Find MobileMe [...]

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  9. Your comments are right on, Om! I have been with .mac since its inception – but I have been astounded and disappointed in the the low level of support and the high degree of disregard for the paying customers. However, I do continue to maintain my subscription. Why is that….?

    I hope that Apple sees your demand for an apology and a refund!

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  10. [...] GigaOm:I Can’t Find MobileMe [...]

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  11. “But I want to see a letter of apology and a refund for time lost to outage. Infact all paying services should be forced to refund the money for the time the services are down.”

    Hahaha. No.

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  12. Small Violin Friday, July 11, 2008

    Feels so good to vent on Apple doesn’t it? Where would be all be without it? Apple’s biggest problem is they set the bar so high that when they fall it brings out the whiners in all of us…myself included. .Mac was lame and I waste $99/year for several cycles. Final Cut Pro is maddening at times and some of the fixes of basic media management are so obvious it just dumbfounds me that they haven’t addressed them.

    That said, name one company (choose your industry) that executes as well as Apple does – across all of their product lines and most especially in the context of the explosive growth they have generated over the past five years? They are very, very few and far between if they exist at all.

    Anyway…

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  13. i am able to go in at me.com.. but the service has been flaky..

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  14. [...] this is a paid service, GigaOm wants a letter of apology and a refund: But I want to see a letter of apology and a refund for time [...]

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  15. Clearly Steve needs to clean house and now is a good time to do it. He needs to walk into the engineering dept, scream his butt off, and ax a few big boys. If he does that MobileME will be up and running in an hour or so.
    Come on Steve – who’s idea was it to switch the entire system at the very last minute? Two Domains (.mac AND Mobileme) — What’s that all about…

    Try this:

    1.) Put mac.com back on line as it was from backup.

    2.) Run MobileME on another system under me.com

    3.) Send out an email to all subscribers informing them when they can try the Mobile.Me Beta.

    4.) Let your subscribers transfer over to the new system when they feel happy with the service.

    5.) Subscribers on the old system use @mac.com and subscribers on the new system use @me.com.

    This shouldn’t have been a big deal Steve but now you have a mess.

    Go kick some butt!

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  16. Isnt working on me, too. I’m equally upset. =(

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  17. I agree heads should roll!!! Running dual domains with .mac based accounts adds unnecessary problems durning rollout, plus no one tells the world to hit the system all at the same time durning beta. That’s just NUTS!!!

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  18. As an ardent Apple supporter for 20 years, I was appalled by the Mobile Me launch. I have used my .Mac email account for personal business for 5 years and though occasional issues have occurred, they were nothing compared to the 2 day interruption of email service I have experienced this week.

    The only thing worse than no personal email, was the lack of warning that this would happen. Shame on Apple and I will be expecting a free MobileMe subscription or I will be cancelling moving forward.

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  19. Om,

    The service is live at http://www.me.com/. It’s just really slow.

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  20. As someone who depends on email, I am terribly disappointed as well but not surprised. The incredible complexity and back end processing of these new applications works great for a few users, but at scale things break down. Well thought out simplicity provides better functionality for common tasks. Text works over MMS because it’s faster and easier, not just from delivery but composition.

    Oddpost when it got acquired by Yahoo discovered the same thing. So did twitter, these are great products but at scale it’s another story. One thing about Google because so much of the management comes from engineering backgrounds they are more inclined to ask, does this compute at scale, not just in powerpoint or demoland.

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  21. A message to Steve

    Fire Bertie. Bring back Avie Tevanian.

    Your software quality has gone steadily downhill ever since A. T. left. You have to do something about it. Someone big must be punished for it. And if something doesn’t happen soon about it, no amount of marketing panache is going to disguise the trend that is making Apple system software products — OS X and iPhone and now apparently Mobile Me — come perilously close to turning into the new Vista.

    Steve, do you want to see Macs on the computer trolley from your ads — in Microsoft commercials when WIndows 7 ships? I certainly don’t. But unless you do something big, that’s what is going to happen.

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  22. [...] Malik, Friday, July 11, 2008 at 9:38 AM PT Comments (0) Best thing that happened to Facebook – Apple’s MobileMe outage, iPhone launch and iPhone activation problems across the board. Why – because no one seems to be [...]

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  23. I would just be happy to be able to sign up for the service. I haven’t even been able to get that far yet.

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  24. Funny thing. Last night I went to buy a new MacBook. The sales guy pitches .Mac to me. I asked about MobileMe and he said it would be easier for me to start with .Mac and move over thereafter. I passed.

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  25. [...] that aren’t already too busy trying to access their MobileMe accounts. Print all_things_di220:http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20080711/ipocalypsenow/ Sphere [...]

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  26. use me.com to access it

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  27. Not trying to excuse apple at all, but a little perspective – $99/yr. is only $8.25/mo. That’s less than many of us pay for a service like netflix and about what a burrito + drink costs at chipotle.

    Should we expect to be refunded money from netflix every time they take a bit longer to turn around a dvd or if chipotle gets overwhelmed one day and the line get long?

    Using the conservative estimate of 3 full days of downtime, we’re each owed about 83¢. So, either have a little perspective, or vote with your wallet and cancel your account. But it seems a little silly to whine over 83¢ of glitches in what had to be a major transition.

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  28. Oh come on. Appalled? Shocked? Give me a break.

    Yep, they failed a rollout. I’ve seen that many times in industry – even with significant testing in advance. Could they have done a better job? Sure. And they probably should apologize. And figure out why it happened and work to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

    For $99/year, I’m not expecting an SLA that guarantees 99.999% uptime. I can find one, sure, but I’m likely not willing to pay what it would cost!

    Please, save your “shocked” and “appalled” for things that really matter in life….

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  29. MobileMe is working. It’s just slow. Not an excuse for Apple to not have added more servers. They should have know better

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  30. Online services are not fail safe. If 100% uptime is expected, you better look for an SLA (service level agreement) before purchasing. If not, then the service can be down and no refund to you is required.

    Although, sadly in the end .Mac and this new service have been poorly designed for scale and way over priced.

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  31. Ok so you want a refund… let’s see… $99 divide 365 = a one day refund of 27 cents! LOL OMFG… you cheap ass. Go to microsoft, I dare you. How embarrassing.

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  32. Works fine, pretty cool stuff if you ask me – puts live.com & GoogApps to shame form the standpoint of great user experience. Little hiccup for global rollout of: 1) world-beating new product, 2) wireless + webapp + Appstore/3rdparty services, 3) product firmware upgrades — with maximum pressure and interest from millions upon milliions of people at one time. The only mistake they made perhaps was trying to do all at once. How did your blog go on the first day? Ever not write an entry, submit something late or ever have a connection problem somewhere? This article is whiney grandstanding if you ask me …better to leave that sort of thing to TC.

    In any event – what is so critical about the dotmac/mobileme services that a few hours downtime causes a disturbance? It’s not like it is an enterprise-class service ..it’s a personal + family oriented convenience that had some growing pains for half a day. Who has 100.00% uptime? It’s not like you or I don’t have 6 email addresses through various services + SMS/IM + multiple web protocols for info transfer + voice + (…) and so on.

    I work at a fortune 50 company that specializes in IT and there are outages in internal services. Basically the global interest and activity caused a friendly DOS attack of sorts…

    *pfft* Demand for an apology and a refund – who the heck are you anyway? This is an internet service, give me a break. The haters of Apple, especially Apple fanbois I understand as most macheads are obnoxious, but beyond that, the fervor with which mac users/fans that turn so quickly on Apple’s efforts when they fall short –simply astounds me. Guess it’s easy to magnify mistakes when most of what they do is close to scary perfect. Just imagine what Apple attempted to do in the last 48 hours being done by any other company – Goog, MSFT, Nokia, Adobe, etc. Pieces don’t fit, do they?

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  33. Instead of writing all that, I guess I could have written:
    “Let me get this straight – you want 27 cents back from Apple because your bloody @me.com address didn’t work for a day?”

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  34. Unless you’ve EXPLICITLY paid for a SLA, don’t expect it. Small downtimes are to be expected if services or servers experience problems.

    Does your cable/DSL provider give you a credit, apology and a special bonus when their networks suffer downtime? Unlikely.

    Even web hosting providers have downtimes. You know what you do when you dont like a web hosting provider’s uptime/service? Switch. Sounds like thats what you should do here if less than 100% uptime isn’t satisfactory for you.

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  35. scott Caldwell Saturday, July 12, 2008

    too much on 1 weekend, they, Apple, think they are all-powerful. but alas a chink in the armour

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  36. Please…. So it went down for a day. GET OVER IT. While I was equally upset, I’m not going to waste my breath thinking that they are going to send out a letter or GIVE US MONEY BACK. Wake up.

    “But I want to see a letter of apology and a refund for time lost to outage. Infact all paying services should be forced to refund the money for the time the services are down. That way the high cost of returning a couple of dollars is going to eat into their profits, making them work harder.”

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  37. No one pays $99 a year and gets 100% Uptime…. and if they do I’d like them to show me! Servers have downtime upgrades have to occur…. Apple did send a email to .mac folks saying the switch was going to happen in the near future…. AND the ENTIRE TIME desktop applications worked perfectly Mail and .mac syncing… I know because I was using them the whole time. The only thing that was down was the web interface which I normally use quite often but its not that big of a deal to not have for 2 days.

    Really? Demanding a refund and an apology? So you want like what $1 back? If your getting that kind of customer experience everywhere else in your life MAN what a great life that must be! Apple never gave a 100% uptime guarantee… If thats what you where looking for then .mac/mobileme could never of satisfied you.

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  38. Maybe I benefit from having been around this word for many years and have experienced more than the author/complainer. Indeed, contact Apple about a just agreement to make up for your lost surface, but please breath deeply and be kind. The person who will answer their phone is a human, like you and me. Surely no company sets out to embarrass themselves by having a system down and they will likely be more than glad to make amends; Apple has a better record than most.

    Sometimes things don’t work in life, whether you a call a telephone number and it never connects, or if your satellite connection is glitchy due to weather. You will do your body and mind well by relaxing a bit and learning to roll with the punches. Demand all you like, but life on this earth is far from a smooth experience.

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  39. Join teh crowd, no one can find it.

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

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  40. Are you people serious? Are you really that upset about three days of downtime? Give it a rest and quit complaining. If you break up the service into the downtime your out…oh I would say less than a buck? Get over it. Your being dramatic and you only seek money from Apple because they have deep pockets. Enough said.

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  41. a concerned party Saturday, July 12, 2008

    Seriously. Grow Up… I am sick of hearing about “business” owners who use .Mac (and now MobileMe) for their “work” emails.

    GET A PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE DOMAIN AND A DOMAIN SPECIFIC EMAIL ADDRESS AND QUIT USING A PAY SERVICE FOR YOUR EMAIL.

    I dont take any business seriously if i see @mac.com, @yahoo.com, @gmail.com, @aol.com, etc at the end of their email. Websites and email hosting are far to cheep these days to cop out and use another providers mail for your oh so “important” business.

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  42. [...] to launch at a time of Apple’s choosing, leaves no room for excuses on today’s problems.read more | digg story This post has been read 1 [...]

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  43. Apple’s decline in quality started a lot further back than 2 years ago. If you weren’t around in the days when they had SCSI internal drives (pre-Performa), then you wouldn’t have noticed. The quality of Apple hardware has been on a steady decline, but Apple has enough fanboys full of unconditional love (and abject fear of anything Windows) that they come back for more.

    If you complain about any problems,you are faced with an angry swarm of Apple enthusiasts. These people are the very root of the reason why Apple doesn’t give a toss about people who have problems with their products. Why do better when your sales are not at stake?

    Apple should be head and shoulders above the rest for two reasons – that is their claim to fame and their prices are higher. Sorry fanboys and girls, but their prices *are* higher. I have a dual platform home and use both a Mac and a PC and alternate buying each platform every time I make a new computer purchase. The Mac has a better OS and looks great, but it is more expensive than a similarly capable PC. If you charge more, it should be reflected in the product.

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  44. Take a chill pill. They moved across from .Mac to MobileMe. That had to entail some downtime, understandable. Also everyone wanted to see what the fuss was about, so everyone logged on at once, which overloaded the system. It’ll settle down soon enough.

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  45. [...] Difficult Activation Where is MobileMe Can’t find a parking space? The State of the Web Internet Encryption Share and Enjoy: These [...]

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  46. I am equally appalled at the false advertising about “push”. They demoed a system that pushed everything to the desktop, but the final product actually syncs to it, just like .Mac (http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1155)! I am usually forgiving but this inexcusable, thanks a lot Apple, or should I say Microsoft!!

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  47. [...] MobileMe: Service Temporary Unavailable – “At $99 a year, I expect my online service to function all the time. So perhaps that is why I am a little upset that Apple hasn’t been able to launch their MobileMe service properly and are experiencing outages. The fact that the service was supposed to launch at a time of Apple’s choosing, leaves no room for excuses on today’s problems.” [...]

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  48. I can see why you’d be upset by not getting 100% uptime on a global service for 27.5 cents a day. That seems like an outrageous price to pay so you should expect nothing less than perfection! ;)

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  49. [...] jours ce en sont pas moins de cinq services qui sont tombés  : Le nouveau service d’Apple : Mobile Me, mais aussi de Facebook (de nouveau tombé cette semaine), Google Docs, 37signals et enfin [...]

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  50. [...] second PR mess for MobileMe, the first being the buggy launch earlier this month. Related reading:I can’t find MobileMeMobileMe: The medium is the messApple posts information about ongoing MobileMe outageApple’s [...]

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  51. [...] leverage this infrastructure. A current example of Apple’s approach can be found in its new MobileMe cloud, which emphasizes ease-of-use and user experience for keeping email, calendar and contacts [...]

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  52. [...] to that. Having been a subscriber to dot-Mac for years, I was quite upset when the service failed to work at launch. They tried to hush everyone by waiving one month’s [...]

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  53. [...] to that. Having been a subscriber to dot-Mac for years, I was quite upset when the service failed to work at launch. They tried to hush everyone by waiving one month’s [...]

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  54. [...] to Mobile Me subscribers, giving us free 60-days of service in lieu of outages and poor performance that had plagued the service earlier this summer, leading to a lot of complaints. Earlier, the company had offered a free 30-day extension to [...]

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  55. [...] Apple’s MobileMe went on a blink for many while the GMail blackout that left millions angry and frustrated. Even Amazon’s seemingly fool proof S3 service was down for an extended period of time, impacting thousands of their customers. This isn’t the last time we have seen of these outages. As the size and scope of cloud computing grows, so will the problems, and also the need for tools to monitor the clouds. [...]

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  56. [...] MobileMe outages (Jul 10-11) – When Apple was migrating .Mac accounts to the new MobileMe, things did not go as smoothly as they would have wished. Steve Jobs has later admitted (in a leaked email) that [...]

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  57. unable to contact them in any way or form.

    unable to find them in any way or form.

    But I bet they can find me when they want to bill me.

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  58. [...] nothing in life is perfect. Google’s Gmail has stumbled on occasion, and Amazon and Apple have had their own problems with the availability of their Web services. Clearly, you can’t [...]

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  59. [...] “outage.” In fact, in recent weeks, not only Google’s services but those of Amazon’s S3 and Apple’s MobileMe have gone on the blink, leading us to rethink our assumptions about the reliability of the web as a [...]

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  60. MobileMe does not cost you $99/year if you know where to look . Cheers !

    http://hubpages.com/hub/What-is-MobileMe-Is-MobileMe-Worth-the-Money

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