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

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.

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?