Blog Post

I Can't Find MobileMe

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.

60 Responses to “I Can't Find MobileMe”

  1. johnny

    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.”

  2. 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.

  3. Hiptrigger

    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 address didn’t work for a day?”

  4. Hiptrigger

    Works fine, pretty cool stuff if you ask me – puts & 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’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?

  5. 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.

  6. binary

    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.

  7. Malchus842

    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….

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Bruin 10s

    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.

  13. Rachet

    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!!!

  14. 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 back on line as it was from backup.

    2.) Run MobileME on another system under

    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 and subscribers on the new system use

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

    Go kick some butt!

  15. Small Violin

    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.


  16. “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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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.