Thursday, July 24, 2008

MobileMe Mess

As part of the iPhone 3G launch, Apple also switched its to, which it now calls “Mobile Me”. Now it’s clear that the switch has been a fiasco. Walt Mossberg trashed it today, as did David Pogue. Apparently Apple is stonewalling as to the extent of the problems.

In particular, losing (or making inaccessible) e-mail is a big deal: people don’t like to be without e-mail, even briefly. I remember one university CIO telling me that any time e-mail went down, he’d get a call to his desk in less than 5 minutes.

Pogue has it exactly right

O.K., look: Even big companies screw up. Intel's done it. Microsoft's done it. Google's done it.

Maybe it wasn't such a hot idea for Apple to launch four enormously complex initiatives -- the iPhone 3G, the App Store, the iPhone 2.0 software update and MobileMe -- all on the same day.
I understand why MobileMe is important: had a very low penetration among Mac users and none among Windows users, and they hope to create something that every iPhone buyer will subscribe to.

Still, it seems like it would have made sense to launch the MobileMe later, after the other initiatives are out there; the others have a bigger impact on the bottom line, and MobileMe could have waited a few months until it was ready to go.

Steve Jobs has a reputation of suffering fools not at all. I wonder who will lose their job over this — and, more importantly, what lessons the company will learn about hubris.

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