Kamis, 07 Agustus 2008

Apple CEO Steve Jobs conceded on Monday what Apples customers have been saying for a few weeks now: The companys MobileMe service, launched in conjunction with the iPhone 3G, was a failure. In an e-mail to employees, Jobs said the service, intended to allow users to sync e-mail and other apps with their new iPhones, was "not our finest hour."

While Jobs was "right to acknowledge the problem," the reports of outages and other failures were so widespread, "He didnt really have much of a choice," noted Greg Sterling, principal analyst with Sterling Market Research.

From the launch, MobileMe suffered a number of problems, including long initial downtimes, an e-mail outage that caused the loss of users messages, an inability to contact the service to sync, data corruption, and time delays in syncing.


In his e-mail, Jobs identified several things that "could have been done better." For starters, he said, the service was "not up to our standards." MobileMe "clearly needed more time and testing."

Jobs has concluded that Apple made two key mistakes with the system, both related to chewing off more than it could chew. "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," he said.

In addition, Apple should have simply delayed MobileMe until after the iPhone 3G launch, which already included the launch of iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store. "We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence," Jobs said.


Intriguingly, Jobs concluded that the company has "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."

Sterling agreed that "theyre in new territory a little bit," but believes it will not be a "long-term issue" for Apple.

"They blew the first impression," he said. "It was a miscalculation. Without exception, technology companies have botched launches." The question is: Can Apple deliver on the second try?

The fact that Apple has succeeded with iTunes suggests the company is capable of handling online services. "Why were they able to get iTunes right but not this? Were they just stretched too thin?" Sterling asked. "Maybe they were a little bit too cocky about this. It made logical sense to launch MobileMe at the same time as the iPhone."

The bottom-line question here is how much the MobileMe snafu tarnishes Apples reputation for quality. "A little bit, not a lot," Sterling said.


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