Apple's MobileMe: Why don't we just call it a beta

Apple's MobileMe: Why don't we just call it a beta

Summary: Apple announced another 60-day freebie extension for MobileMe customers. MobileMe is the synchronization service that launched along with the iPhone 3G and App Store and you could argue that going 2-for-3 with a strikeout isn't bad.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Apple announced another 60-day freebie extension for MobileMe customers. MobileMe is the synchronization service that launched along with the iPhone 3G and App Store and you could argue that going 2-for-3 with a strikeout isn't bad. But this isn't baseball. MobileMe has been a black eye for Apple and the company is struggling to make the service reliable on the fly.

Apple said on Tuesday (Techmeme reaction, Apple letter to subscribers via Jason O'Grady):

The transition from .Mac to MobileMe was rockier than we had hoped.  While we are making a lot of improvements, the MobileMe service is still not up to our standards. We are extending subscriptions 60-days free of charge to express appreciation for our members’ patience as we continue to improve the service.

Give credit to Apple for offering the freebie--it could have offered just a discount. But frankly Apple has little choice here. Apple will be lucky to keep what MobileMe customers it has. And good luck getting new ones.

Here's a humble suggestion: Why doesn't Apple just come clean and say MobileMe is really a beta? It'll never happen, but Apple would be more transparent. Perhaps Apple could start a trend. Consider:

  • Would Vista have had such a tough time if Microsoft was upfront with the fact that its latest version of Windows was really a beta until SP1?
  • Glitchy chips? Ooops it's a beta.
  • Any product that's not up to snuff? Beta.

In an ideal world customers would be able to vote and put products back into the beta bin. Thoughts?

Topic: Apple

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13 comments
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  • People generally don't charge for Beta.

    Which seems to be the main issue.
    Sleeper Service
    • MobileMe is working issue free for me ! - NT

      NT
      raycote
  • RE: Apple's MobileMe: Why don't we just call it a beta

    This must be a small group of users. I haven't experienced any issues since I started using MobileMe which was about a week after it debuted. Everything just works. I think it was said that two percent of users were having issues, I'm not one of them. One mans beta is another mans perfectly working service I guess. Why don't you do a poll to see how many people are actually having issues.
    gtdworak
    • MobileMe Stinks

      I assure you that 2% is not the figure. You're pulling the 2% from those who suffered a 10-day email outage. Let me say that again: a 10-day email outage.

      It ate my Outlook contacts twice (thank goodness for backups). I still can't get it to sync with my calendar. So, I gave up. I upgraded my iPod Touch to 2.x and use Exchange Server integration to make it work.

      I was hoping to use MobileMe as the core repository for my information. No such luck. The service is nowhere close to prime time. You, sir, sound like another Apple fanboy but I could be wrong.
      doting.daddy
    • Hmmm - sounds amazingly like the Vista complaints

      Just substitute "Vista" for "MobileMe" and the whines and complaints line up almost perfectly.
      Confused by religion
      • Perhaps That's True, But...

        Perhaps, but I haven't had any major issues with Vista. MobileMe's CF factor has been significantly higher.
        doting.daddy
  • It's the google model

    Hype it and treat it like a final release, but call it a beta, so that
    when your customers complain about your crappy service, you
    have an "out."

    It's all part of the "don't be evil" vision.
    frgough
  • RE: Apple's MobileMe: Why don't we just call it a beta

    We all know Apple does nothing for free! Even lousy
    applications and cloud computing. Sure let's keep em
    hangin'
    by giving out a couple of free months. What a great ideal!
    For one thing Apple this is not going to attract any
    businesses to Apple for computers, iPhones or anything
    else.
    I do think Apple keeps hurting its untarnished credibility
    by muddling through these problems. I for one am not
    going to be jumping on the bandwagon on a new Apple
    product anymore. I will wait for all the bugs to be worked
    out before forking over money for a broken product.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • Untarnished?

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but Apple's reputation was tarnished long ago. Not saying anyone else's hasn't been (Microsoft, et al) but Apple's reputation isn't a glimmering beacon, either.

      I usually wait until the bugs are worked out, unless it's free. Then again, I don't have an iPhone, so this doesn't affect me.
      dracolich_prgrm
  • RE: Apple's MobileMe: Why don't we just call it a beta

    I concur, might take us back to the days when Yahoo was
    really just a bunch a friends sharing some info. The
    money'll come so I don't see why not. I make fun of the
    yungins in my office who really know their ipods and iphones
    well, but can barely reboot a computer. But I'm about to get
    an ipod shuffle for my jogging needs and an iphone, well,
    just cause it's so damn cool. Free mail for now would sure
    make me a happy paleosapien.
    StoneKolde
  • RE: Apple's MobileMe: Why don't we just call it a beta

    NOTE TO APPLE: YOU'RE PISSING ME OFF! As a long-term
    Mac customer, before becoming a MobileMe member I was
    a ".Mac" member, and before that I was an "Apple Club"
    member, and before that I was an "e-World" member. Yes,
    Apple, I've been there with you through it all. Now, you've
    really screwed-up my email et all. Even worse, being
    unemployed I NEED CONSTANT ACCESS TO MY EMAIL to
    secure employment. Get your act together ASAP by
    immediately returning my email back to its fully
    operational .Mac status. Then, if and ONLY if I elect to do
    so, allow me access a 90-day dual system trial to the
    "MobileMe Beta."

    FINAL NOTE TO APPLE: This is a technology absolute -
    never screw with the customer's or client's access to email.

    reynos
    viajerome
  • RE: Apple's MobileMe: Why don't we just call it a beta

    I don't fully agree. If MobileMe is beta (I'm not saying that
    it should not have gone through beta first, which I firmly
    believe Apple should have done), and since betas are
    optional, .Mac would have to come back (remain - if it was
    done before release of MobileMe). In the first few days, it
    might have been possible to bite the bullet and go back.
    However, it is too far down the line already, since there are
    a number of satisfied users.

    beta versions (if not iniitial, and MobileMe is not initial
    since .Mac was there and replaced by MobileMe) also
    implies that if it is not an initial release that there is a
    stable earlier version. Consider that when Vista was in beta,
    you had a stable (and supported) XP to use.

    I was in viajerome's boat before, but I found employment
    before MobileMe was launched. I do fully understand that
    position. The real problem is that the "new" version of
    something should have as its minimum, what the old
    version had.

    I personally hate MobileMe and I paid for .Mac because it
    was compelling in that .Mac members get info and apps
    (remember the initial screen after logging into .Mac?). This
    compelling reason is completely gone in MobileMe. So now
    I have some orphaned apps. I got in touch with some
    senior support people with regards to that initial screen
    that .Mac. I got (verbatim): "I am not sure if MobileMe will
    ever have a launch page that is comparable to the original
    .Mac page." So they are taking away what compelled me to
    be a member. OK I get an extra 90 days (first 30 then now
    60 more), but I think that I will use that time to slowly
    move off of it. The only thing that I want to keep is the
    <username>@mac.com because I thought it was cool. I
    don't care (or would rather option off of it) for the
    <username>@me.com (sounds like I'm conceited or some
    kind of > 3 yr. old child - it is not geeky nor nerdy, just
    cheap and lame).
    ManoaHI
  • RE: Apple's MobileMe: No dramas for me

    Hey folks I hear about all these dramas but got to say I
    haven't had any problems... if there are, then Apple only had
    two choices, roll back and annoy the heck out of everyone, or
    give us a significant discount - free time - and make good. It
    is fine to say they should have got it all right at the
    beginning and yes they should, but as a senior IT guy I know
    that hardly anything gets rolled out in flawless mode.
    Especially not something pretty huge and innovative.
    wwfilms