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Summary:

Or perhaps that should be “what is down with MobileMe?” Apparently, for some customers, the answer is that email is down, and has been that way for up to four days. Coming on top of the iPhone 3G’s opening day “iPocalypse” activation troubles, this seems to […]

ScreenshotOr perhaps that should be “what is down with MobileMe?” Apparently, for some customers, the answer is that email is down, and has been that way for up to four days. Coming on top of the iPhone 3G’s opening day “iPocalypse” activation troubles, this seems to indicate one of three things: Apple seriously underestimated demand for their new services, they’re doing an incompetent job of running a large chunk of infrastructure, or they’ve gotten very, very unlucky.

The details, such as they are, are over at the MobileMe support site, where you can read “1% of MobileMe members cannot access MobileMe Mail. We apologize for any inconvenience.” If they actually sold a million phones, that could be 10,000 people without mail (though we don’t know how many people have signed up for MobileMe, or how accurate that 1% number is).

Over on the MobileMe Mail Forum, you’ll find plenty of unhappy people, with thread titles such as “LATEST UPDATE FROM APPLE-NO END IN SIGHT” and “4th DAY WITHOUT EMAIL SERVICE.” And no wonder: most people probably assume, as I do, that running an email service is a solved problem. Hardcore Apple defenders might point to the sync features of MobileMe as a reason that this is a hard problem – but certainly companies like Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Google have been running large-scale (and even free) mail services for years.

Frankly, these teething pains make me very happy that I haven’t gone the MobileMe route myself. A 4-day outage would be absolutely deadly to me, or to most other web workers. With all the services we’ve enumerated in our alternatives to MobileMe post, it’s hard to come up with a good reason for putting up with this sort of service from anyone, let alone a company as supposedly dedicated to customer service as Apple.

If you’re in the affected 1%, how are you coping?

  1. This in addition to the countless mention of iTunes Calendar synchronization issues on Windows platforms with Outlook 2003/2007 is not comforting for new Enterprise users. There are also CPU spikes on Windows machines during and after the sync process takes place with iTunes 7.7 and firmware 2.0. Hopefully this will be addressed soon.

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  2. This is affecting a lot of .mac users. I don’t have an i-phone, I used to use pemeyers@mac.com as my email address but have not been able to receive email since Friday morning.

    Please note the gmail account as my new email account.

    I am livid and I think that far more than 10,000 people are affected by this.

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  3. Benjamin Plaut Monday, July 21, 2008

    I have been a mac.com e-mail owner since 2005, when I foolishly switched my business and personal e-mail into one account.

    Four days and counting, and my e-mail is non-functional.

    Ironically, I was headed out this weekend to buy a new apple desktop and iphone (my first.) Now I am looking at windows-based laptops.

    I bought my first Apple in 1982, and worked with windows products in the 1990’s.

    Apple makes cool looking stuff and has a great marketing department, but I need communication devices that work. There is a reason the military and emergency services do not use macs. They are pretty luxuries that are not meant for serious people.

    I live in Hollywood, and the creative community swears by apple. Well enough, but for those of us who cannot hide in our apartments without contacts for days and need to earn a living, I suggest any other company than apple.

    The company is not competent on the basics. Their products are not reliable. It pains me to say this, but it is true. I owned AAPL stock, I had its poster on my wall in 1982.

    But they don’t know what they are doing. My Sony desktop is 8 years old. It still runs high speed internet. My hotmail account, which I opened in 1997, still works, for free.

    My expensive apple mail account is less effective than a postage stamp, a pen and a piece of paper and envelope.

    Don’t buy Apple products. My stomach clenches to write that. But it is true.

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  4. I’m one of the “1%”, in that I can’t access webmail reliably and I can only sync down from the cloud to my iPhone.

    My solution was to abandon MobileMe mail completely (back to gmail) and to use calendar and contacts for syncing between my laptop and iPhone. I’m in the free trial and unless things dramatically improve, I won’t be converting. I’ll stick with Spanning Sync and sync manually.

    Ben

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  5. I use gmail almost exclusively so I wouldn’t notice MobileMe’s mail outages, but I signed up to MobileMe hoping to use the calendar sync. I started with 60 days’ free trial, but because of problems I’m now up to 120 days. I won’t be converting either, unless things improve a lot before November.

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  6. surely a comedown after all hype. its really amazing to me how big
    names get away with giving out sub optimal products. a much
    better alternative to mobileme is http://iphone.hyperoffice.com which
    allows you to share and sync company information as well as individual
    mail, contacts, tasks, calendars etc between your iPhone and desktop.
    their latest enhacement also allows you to access and share documents
    from the iPhone.

    and no outages so far to speak of!

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  7. I agree that the Mobile Me outage is unconscionable. But I wonder if damning an entire product line – computers and phones – for lack of the Mobile Me email product isn’t perhaps throwing the baby out with the bath water? I can tell you I won’t be going anywhere near the Mobile Me product after your experience.

    But you can have my MacBook Pro and my iPhone (first gen) just as soon as you pry them out of my cold, dead hands — besides, imho, I think it looks cheesy to have an email address at other than my own domain (even if I do run it through Google’s servers because my hosting company couldn’t seem to keep the email servers running on weekends . . .)

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  8. I never chose to subscribe to MobileMe. I learned long ago to wait for the early adopters to work out the bugs and take advantage of technology when the kinks had worked out. But even though I never chose to become part of the MobileMe movement, I did choose some years ago to subscribe to .mac, which was boring but functional, giving me reliable email service and web hosting, and never gave me a second thought or an ounce of trouble.

    And then, with no input from me whatsoever, I discover that suddenly I’m a subscriber to MobileMe. And my .mac email address IS NO LONGER FUNCTIONAL. Can’t receive, can’t send, can’t do anything.

    And it’s not a couple of hours or even a couple of days but a FULL WEEK so far with no end in sight, no updates from Apple (save a platitudinous “we’re doing our best, be back ASAP”.

    This is the exact opposite of the Apple I used to evangelize for and wax rhapsodic about. This is a debacle beyond belief.

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