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Jobs: MobileMe ‘not up to Apple's standards’

Well, I’m happy for that admission. But let’s be serious: MobileMe is a quagmire on the PC. I’ve written a ton of stuff about this service, stuff that hasn’t been published yet mostly because it goes on and on and on, and there are so many complaints it reads like a tirade, which honestly isn’t what I’m shooting for. But while I suspect Apple will clean up MobileMe eventually, I have to say, given past experiences with the iPhone sync stuff on the PC, they’re never really going to get this right. They just aren’t, not on the PC. Anyway...

Apple CEO Steve Jobs conceded in an e-mail to Apple employees that the company had made numerous mistakes during the launch of its MobileMe Internet service, saying that the service “was simply not up to Apple's standards” and that it "clearly needed more time and testing." The memo also indicates that Jobs has now transferred responsibility for the service to a different Apple executive.

the MobileMe team will now report to Eddy Cue, who has led the iTunes team for the past several years. In fact, Cue will now head up all of Apple’s Internet services including iTunes, the App Store and MobileMe. Reporting directly to Jobs, Cue’s new title is Vice President, Internet Services.

MobileMe's launch was fraught with problems, including large initial downtime, an extended e-mail outage including lost messages, the inability to contact the service to sync, corruption of data, time delays in syncing the computer to MobileMe, and more. In the aftermath, Apple set up a status page on the MobileMe Web site.

The “launch of MobileMe was not our finest hour,” reads Jobs' e-mail.

That’s for sure. Here’s the full email:


The launch of MobileMe was not our finest hour.  There are several things we could have done better:

– MobileMe was simply not up to Apple's standards – it clearly needed more time and testing.

– Rather than launch MobileMe as a monolithic service, we could have launched over-the-air syncing with iPhone to begin with, followed by the web applications one by one – Mail first, followed 30 days later (if things went well with Mail) by Calendar, then 30 days later by Contacts.

– It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store.  We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.

We are taking many steps to learn from this experience so that we can grow MobileMe into a service that our customers will love.  One step that I can share with you today is that the MobileMe team will now report to Eddy Cue, who will lead all of our internet services – iTunes, the App Store and, starting today, MobileMe.  Eddy's new title will be Vice President, Internet Services and he will now report directly to me.

The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services.  And learn we will.  The vision of MobileMe is both exciting and ambitious, and we will press on to make it a service we are all proud of by the end of this year.


Thanks to Rick M. for the link.

I’ll have at least part of my MobileMe review up today, BTW. I think I’m going to cut out the stuff about getting it to work with popular email and PIM services and publish that separately. It’s just getting too long.

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