Surprisingly, Apple botches the debut of MobileMe. Where is it?

mobilemeIt’s not often that Apple botches the debut of a product or service, particularly under the direction of Steve Jobs, but when it comes to the introduction of MobileMe the Cupertino boys blew it big time.

Where the hell is MobileMe?

MobileMe was supposed to have replaced .Mac, Apple’s $99-a-year personal Web service, sometime Thursday. .Mac was taken offline Wednesday night at 9, Pacific time, with the promise of a return a few hours later.

It was supposed to go MobileMe first, then the debut of the App Store, followed by the iPhone 3G. But MobileMe stuck its head above ground only a few times Thursday, remaining unlaunched for a majority of subscribers. They were given repeatedly the error message “This service is temporarily unavailable.”

See also: MobileMe launches Wednesday night; will it be revolutionary or underachieving?

mobilemeThe venerable Om Malik wrote on GigaOM, “At $99 a year, I expect my online service to function all the time. So perhaps that is why I am a little upset that Apple hasn’t been able to launch their MobileMe service properly and are experiencing outages.”

All Apple had to say was this: “The MobileMe transition is underway but is taking longer than expected,” Bill Evans, an Apple spokesman, told the Associated Press [via CNN]. “The new Web applications are not yet online but the rest of the service is up and running.”

Email and file access have not been interrupted for many people as these are still available via desktop or laptop computers. But folks eager to try out the new MobileMe Web interface and over-the-air file syncing — Exchange for the rest of us — are having to wait more than 24 hours for the service to launch.

It’s highly doubtful that the MobileMe troubles will keep people from buying the iPhone 3G in the U.S. when it debuts in a few hours. But it does sully a third of the iPhone’s big party — the hardware availability and the debut of the the Apps Store (software) have gone well, MobileMe has not.

“I want to see a letter of apology and a refund for time lost to the outage,” Om writes.

I’ll just take $10 off the purchase of an iPhone 3G.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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