Mossberg: MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable

Mossberg: MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable

Summary: In a scathing indictment of Apple's MobileMe service, the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg calls the service "far too flawed to be reliable."The US$99 per year service – which is supposed to push contacts, calendars and email from iPhone to computer – has been hobbling along on one leg since it's admitted "rocky start" when it was launched two weeks ago.

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TOPICS: Apple, Collaboration
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In a scathing indictment of Apple's MobileMe service, the Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg calls the service "far too flawed to be reliable."

The US$99 per year service – which is supposed to push contacts, calendars and email from iPhone to computer – has been hobbling along on one leg since it's admitted "rocky start" when it was launched two weeks ago.

The planned iDisk File Sharing featured was delayed and subscribers have reported email outtages and problems with syncing and uploading files to MobileMe galleries. Apple's discussion boards have 1,756 pages of "discussions" about MobileMe. Things got so bad that Apple gave a free month of service to all MobileMe subscriber's in a rare, conciliatory email.

We want to apologize to our loyal customers and express our appreciation for their patience by giving all current subscribers an automatic 30-day extension to their MobileMe subscription free of charge.

On Friday, 18 July 2008 Apple divulged that:

We experienced a serious issue with one of our MobileMe mail servers... Affected members are unable to send or receive email at www.me.com or access email using any email client software such as Mail on a Mac or Microsoft Outlook on a PC.

The MobileMe status page has been stuck on "1% of MobileMe members cannot access MobileMe Mail" for almost a week.

Now the pope of Mac journalism says that MobileMe "has too many flaws to keep its promises" and is "way too ragged." Ouch.

I have only used MobileMe lightly since its launch, intentionally staying away from the service until things smooth out a little bit, but I feel for users that use it for their primary email service. Let's hope that Apple gets all the bugs worked out soon. Maybe next time they'll consider a larger beta testing pool and or a staggered/tiered rollout?

How's your experience with MobileMe so far?

Topics: Apple, Collaboration

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24 comments
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  • Wow, you know it is bad when...

    You know it is bad when one of your most fervent fanboys tells you to stay away from an Apple service!

    [i]The planned iDisk File Sharing featured was delayed[/i]

    More vaporware from Apple. Sounds like once again, they've overpromised and underdelivered. Yawn.
    NonZealot
  • RE: Mossberg: MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable

    Hmm... sounds like the kind of performance and reliability you'd expect from Microsoft.. but didn't Apple license Microsoft's Exchange ActiveStink?... that would explain alot...
    sj_z
    • Blaming Exchange Licensing????

      sj_z, are you serious. You can not in any way blame Microsoft's exchange licensing for the problems with MobilMe. Apple is not using Microsoft products on their servers, they just utilize Microsoft's API's to pull the data into Apple's servers. The problems can only be blamed to Apple. Give credit where credit is due, or in this case blame where blame is due.
      bretthodel@...
    • Unbelievable.

      You idiots know no boundaries. You idiots are beyond repair.
      silent.griffin
    • What does MS and Exchange have to do with anything?

      Wow. Mentioning Microsoft and Exchange in a blog about Apple's MobileMe service being down. Really, dude, that's pretty lame.
      lawryll@...
  • RE: Mossberg: MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable

    No problems here. Mail syncs
    fine - iPhone often gets the mail
    quicker than my Mac does. I've
    seen no delays, no outages
    beyond the first day.

    Smooth as silk.
    rwahrens1952
  • RE: Mossberg: MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable

    Cross posted on Pogue's site:

    Well, I must be in the other 99% because MobileMe is
    working just fine for me, my Macs, and my two iPhones
    (1st Gen & 3G. I was not going to buy 3G but my wife
    really wanted my old iPhone. She hated her LG handset.). I
    was with .Mac before and the transition to MobileMe was
    rocky on their end. Someone mentioned that they would
    not pay $100 for an email address. Neither am I. Before I
    was paying for syncing my calendars, address book and
    other preferences across my machines. Could I get other
    services to do that? There are products & services available
    but I have found the .Mac, & now MobileMe, service to be
    easy to use and reliable. I received a new MBP at work the
    other day and when I synced with MobileMe it brought over
    all my preferences which I was not expecting at all.
    Preference panes settings, preferred networks, the whole
    shebang. Crazy efficient and well worth the money if you
    are syncing 2 or more machines.

    I know a lot of people are hurting and I completely
    understand that pain as I work in IT and have one group
    with a 24/7 service application that reports to me. It is
    always painful when one of these systems fails to perform.
    However, I think it is a bit disingenuous to make a blanket
    statement that MobileMe is totally broken and does not
    work. It does work for me and I suspect for a lot of
    people. Hopefully Apple can step up and make it work for
    everyone.

    Just one person's experience with MobileMe. That is all I
    can personally vouch for.
    Sammyeye
  • works for me, but slooooowwwwww

    changes to my calendar are not "instant", and often take hours to show up on other devices. this is really lame.
    lostarchitect
  • Won't sync outlook connected to Exchange

    I experienced issues with MobileMe cutting out on the first
    day but i could forgive that - what I have been frustrated
    at is the limitations of the syncing ability of this service
    and how Apple kept quiet about what MobileMe can and
    can't do.

    I have the following configuration: In my office, I spend
    most of my day at a Windows-based PC running Outlook
    connected to our company's Exchange server. I have an
    iPhone and a couple of machines at home, I wanted to use
    MobileMe to sync my calendars and contacts on my
    Exchange-based Outlook PC with everything else.
    However, MobileMe will not sync an Outlook calendar or
    address book if it is connected to an exchange server. This
    limitation seriously affects how useful the service is for me
    and, judging by the people on the discussions forum on
    the official Apple website, this is annoying many others as
    well. What is more annoying is that, as far as I can see,
    Apple never mentioned this as a limitation in their
    promotional material - despite it being quite a common
    usage scenario...

    It should also be noted that you can't configure MobileMe
    to run through a proxy which is another quite serious
    limitation for its usage when at work.

    MM is a nice idea that doesn't feel fully cooked yet and i
    think Apple should be more transparent about it's limits...
    aurora7795
  • iPhone ratings are beginning to fall

    [url=http://www.phonearena.com/htmls/Life-with-the-iPhone-3G-one-week-later-article-a_2999.html] iPhone extremely unstable and has poor build quality.[/url]

    [i]We have encountered several more lockups, restarts and overall unstableness. There have been numerous user reports of data being erased when the phone syncs with iTunes, MobileMe still not working properly and SIM card read errors that require a new phone.
    ...
    If Apple doesn't fix these problems soon, we will have to lower the rating of the iPhone 3G.[/i]

    Uh oh! :)
    NonZealot
    • Uh, yeah

      A single review of a single iPhone, done
      by folks that probably don't know crap
      about how to make it work. And few
      people will fail to note that the experience with ONE unit out of millions
      sold does NOT scale to all of those
      millions.

      Lame.
      rwahrens1952
    • clearly, there are issues

      but they seem related to software, not build quality.
      lostarchitect
      • Build quality also questionable

        From the link I provided:
        [i]Our latest issue is that the screen has shrunk. The view remains the same, but along the top and left there are five or six rows of unused pixels. On the bottom there are a few rows, and the left side has one or two unused rows as well.[/i]

        Could be software, I suppose, but more likely to be lack of hardware build quality.
        NonZealot
        • So?

          Show me a substantial number of these,
          confirmed as a problem.

          I've been combing the boards, and there
          are NO complaints about this issue AT
          ALL anywhere else.

          One unit among millions isn't a
          problem, build quality or otherwise.
          rwahrens1952
  • "MobileMe - It just DOESN'T work"

    That should be your marketing slogan for this one Steve.

    Your average user will struggle and be lucky to get this product working.

    Where's your trendy little smug Mac boy now Steve?
    jamesey
  • RE: Mossberg: MobileMe Is Far Too Flawed To Be Reliable

    Yep that is indeed the case. I have to Ctrl-Alt-Del my iPhone at least once a day due to unstableness or slow performance.

    It took me several attempts to post my last reply to this blog as Safari just crashed on me on the iPhone.

    And I am now beginning to realise why Mac Lemmings love their products so much. When something goes wrong with one, the software just pretends it didn't happen.

    Blue Screen of Death = Apple Logo
    Application Hang = Wheel of Death

    It's the same chick just in more expensive clothes.

    So Microsoft, the lesson to be learned here is just don't give consumers any information if something goes wrong, your average user just doesn't want to know about it they just want to start again.
    jamesey
  • No problems here -

    I will have to admit that I don't use MobileMe constantly, but I
    will say that I have been getting my e-mails (from both my
    Me.com e-mail addie and my business addie) just fine on my
    iPhone 3G. I don't get it. Is New York busoer or am I just one
    of the lucky 99%?

    The only issue I have had was syncing the first time, it
    tanked (System refs. did,) but on the second try it went
    smoothly.
    Christian Messer
  • Apple wasn't prepared?

    Apple in the past has been vigorous in
    working towards solutions. Remember
    when they moved programmers from
    Leopard to the original iPhone project?
    (Actually I'd bet there are some Snow
    Leopard programmers that have moved
    back to the iPhone/MobileMe projects.)

    Personally I think that Apple simply wasn't
    prepared for the surge in users. iPhone
    3G sales were much higher than expected
    and they also offered free trials of
    MobileMe.

    Sounds like one major problem is
    insufficient server resources. Fortunately
    Apple has the cash to bring in what they
    need, and then some. Time to bring out
    the checkbook big time in this area.

    Other bits are equally frustrating and we
    can expect to see a few updates as they
    work out various solutions.

    While my email is working fine I'm limiting
    my use of MobileMe to email as Apple
    works things out. After the dust settles I
    think it will be fine.

    Oh, one more thing - I hope Apple has
    kept their backups going so their
    customers will eventually get their emails.
    :)
    Ken_z
  • One month free ?? I don't think so!

    Interesting free one month to all members?? I don't think so.
    I did not got such an offer, but that's apple, they do not give
    a rats ass about long time customers.
    rhon@...
    • 30 day extension for active accounts

      you'll get the 30 day extension if you had an active account
      on July 9: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2408
      pixel-diva