It seemed like a lot to take on at the time — the introduction of MobileMe, the opening of the AppStore, the release of the iPhone 2.0 software, and the availability of the second-generation iPhone itself.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs admitted as much in an internal email sent to Apple employees Monday evening, according to Ars Technica. Jobs said MobileMe, the replacement for Apple’s ho-hum .Mac service, was launched too early and “not up to Apple’s standards.” Jobs said Apple should have introduced MobileMe slowly instead of launching it “as a monolithic service.”
“It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store,” Jobs said. “We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.”
The moment MobileMe hit the ether on the evening of July 9 there were problems that still linger, in various forms, today. It took longer to flip the on switch than Apple intended. Once MobileMe was “up and running”, the 2 million subscribers to the former .Mac service found themselves with intermittent email, syncing problems (so much for “Exchange for the rest of us”), disappearing calendar events and contacts, screwed up account information, and loads of frustration.
Apple now appears to have reorganized the MobileMe team. The entire group will report to Eddy Cue, who will now lead all Internet-related services at Apple. That’s iTunes, the App Store, and MobileMe.
We’ve always thought that MobileMe was the toughest of Apple’s introductions. The iPhone 3G is a second generation product. The iPhone 2.0 software has been carefully cultivated since June 29, 2007, when the first iPhone was released. And the App Store rides piggyback on the success and maturity of the iTunes Store.
MobileMe wasn’t just an update of the failed .Mac service but rather an overhaul in philosophy and a critical move toward cloud computing — an area that Microsoft, IBM, and a bunch of others are now interested in. Apple arrived first, but with a seriously flawed product.
Time isn’t running out on MobileMe. No one company has figured out cloud computing yet. And that includes Apple.
“The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services,” Job said. “And learn we will.”
What Apple plans to do about the MobileMe mess, however, is still an unknown.
Illustration credit: Ars Technica