Steve Jobs confesses to poorly planned MobileMe launch

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is admitting that his firm bit off more than it could chew with last month's simultaneous product launches, which resulted in a MobileMe Internet service that was pushed out prematurely "and not up to Apple's standards."



In an email to employees on the matter Monday, seen by ArsTechnica, Jobs fessed up to launching MobileMe without adequate testing and offered suggestions on what could have been done differently. Instead of launching the "monolithic service" all at once, Apple could have rolled it out in pieces, first launching over-the-air iPhone syncing and then introducing each new web app one at a time, he said.



"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 Apple co-founder also announced changes to the company's management structure that will see Eddy Cue, formally vice president of iTunes, oversee all Internet-related services, including the iTunes, the App Store, and Mobile Me. Cue will now report directly to Jobs.



"The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services," Jobs told employees. "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."



MobileMe has been plagued by a variety of issues since launching on the eve of July 10th. Even after axing some planned features, Apple struggled for days to get its new suite of Web apps up in working order.



Those issues were later compounded by intermittent line problems, syncing bugs that remotely cleared the contact lists on iPhones, and a mail server crash that left some subscribers locked out of their email accounts for over a week.



On July 16, Apple apologized for its MobileMe missteps by offering subscribers a free 30-day extension on their yearly subscriptions to the service.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 75
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    Staggered launches are always smoother.
  • Reply 2 of 75
    chris cuillachris cuilla Posts: 4,825member
    In my view the sign of a great company (or other kind of organization or person) is not in the always perfect execution but in how they respond when things go poorly.



    This memo is an example of a company handling things well and trying to determine how to avoid such troubles again in the future.



    Ironically, this screw up is likely to make Apple stronger in the future rather than weaker.
  • Reply 3 of 75
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    The service has sucked since it's inception with iTools 8 years ago.



    This is what happens when Steve is not passionate about one of Apple's products. He should have hired someone passionate about web services and let them run with it.



    I keep paying for it like an idiot because he keeps saying how wonderful it's going to be.
  • Reply 4 of 75
    And this is why Apple is a better computer company; when they know they effed something up they say so. There are big men running that modest company. I'm still waiting for the apology letter from a certain software company over a certain operating system that didn't even meet their own iffy standards for quality.



    *goes to stand by the mailbox*
  • Reply 5 of 75
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    The service has sucked since it's inception with iTools 8 years ago.



    This is what happens when Steve is not passionate about one of Apple's products. He should have hired someone passionate about web services and let them run with it.



    I keep paying for it like an idiot because he keeps saying how wonderful it's going to be.





    I agree. Although I never paid for it. I never understood how people were using such a tiny amount of space for backup. The services are good for a certain kind of user who doesn't want to know how ANYTHING works --- like one-click publishing with iWeb.



    I steer some people toward hosts like Bluehost - but then you face a different set of problems. Like they decide what disk use is acceptable. Putting all your music on their server? Probably not acceptable. It makes their claims of inlimited storage space and bandwidth far less useful.



    But I think you nailed it on the head, Apple has never seemed passionate about .Mac. And Mobile Me doesn't get me any more excited. If they had partnered with Google on something I'd be paying more attention.
  • Reply 6 of 75
    irelandireland Posts: 17,491member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla View Post


    In my view the sign of a great company (or other kind of organization or person) is not in the always perfect execution but in how they respond when things go poorly.



    So given that Apple "rarely" fess-up. You must think they aren't great, by any stretch of the imagination. Jobs only fessed up because he knew the secret approach wouldn't work this time. It's not Apple that needs to learn, it's Jobs.
  • Reply 7 of 75
    irelandireland Posts: 17,491member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    The service has sucked since it's inception with iTools 8 years ago.



    This is what happens when Steve is not passionate about one of Apple's products. He should have hired someone passionate about web services and let them run with it.



    I keep paying for it like an idiot because he keeps saying how wonderful it's going to be.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by walshbj


    But I think you nailed it on the head, Apple has never seemed passionate about .Mac. And Mobile Me doesn't get me any more excited. If they had partnered with Google on something I'd be paying more attention.



    Now that would be interesting Bren.
  • Reply 8 of 75
    As everybody knows, MobileMe (and iPhone 2.0) is full of bugs:

    - no Internet Explorer support (They have to hire Tantek Celik!)

    - no sync of a Mac address book with parent groups

    - no push

    - lost of emails

    - and in fact no 'Cancel Account' button as defined by the support !



    Yesterday, Apple refused to accept my regular cancellation pretexting that I paid with my Visa on the Apple Store and not directly on MobileMe...

    With all the iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe bugs/problems, is Apple forgetting the first rule of business : "Without customers, you do no have a business! You just have a hobby..."

    For MobileMe, I paid the price defined by Apple. I deserve to be respected, especially if I'm not satisfied

    Regards,



    PS My cancellation was made within 45 days of being charged for my subscription.

    20/06/2008:I pre-order on Apple Store, 14/07/2007: I have been charged and 27/07/2008: I cancelled
  • Reply 9 of 75
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    The service has sucked since it's inception with iTools 8 years ago.



    This is what happens when Steve is not passionate about one of Apple's products. He should have hired someone passionate about web services and let them run with it.



    I keep paying for it like an idiot because he keeps saying how wonderful it's going to be.



    Couldn't agree more. And, Yup, ditto here. I too am paying for this inferior service, and worse, I barely use it. Judging from Jobs own admission, the service won't be ready for any mission critical applications for at least a year.



    What they should do is to give it away for for free (call it Beta if they must), but be up front that they will start charging once they are hundred percent happy with the service. (Hand it over to someone who truly 'gets it' and who is passionate about it. That way they will hook in more people and more importantly, not be blamed for selling an obviously flawed product as a premier service.
  • Reply 10 of 75
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chris Cuilla View Post


    In my view the sign of a great company (or other kind of organization or person) is not in the always perfect execution but in how they respond when things go poorly.



    This memo is an example of a company handling things well and trying to determine how to avoid such troubles again in the future.



    Ironically, this screw up is likely to make Apple stronger in the future rather than weaker.



    You've got to be kidding me. Why am I not surprised to see this kind of pro-Apple post here. AppleInsider has the most loyal Apple fans posting, doesn't it.



    I wish they could fess up on certain hardware issues...
  • Reply 11 of 75
    wobegonwobegon Posts: 764member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Luca Larobiade View Post


    As everybody knows, MobileMe (and iPhone 2.0) is full of bugs:

    - no Internet Explorer support (They have to hire Tantek Celik!)



    That's not a bug. MobileMe relies on open standards, which Microsoft still hasn't adhered to in Internet Explorer.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Luca Larobiade View Post


    - no push



    As far as I understand it, there is push between MobileMe and the iPhone/iPod touch. They simply need to work out how to get push on the Mail desktop client, which is possible. It likely won't be "real" push - they'll simply set a short time interval for checking mail - but "real" push that fetches the mail when it's there, rather than checking on a time interval whether new mail is there or not, is likely in Snow Leopard as they're natively supporting Exchange's push email.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Luca Larobiade View Post


    - and in fact no 'Cancel Account' button as defined by the support !



    Don't know exactly what you mean, but it doesn't sound like a software bug. Are you saying you couldn't find where to cancel your account? Did you go to the Account section and click on the Account Options section, where it has a button labeled Cancel Account?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Luca Larobiade View Post


    With all the iPhone 2.0 and MobileMe bugs/problems, is Apple forgetting the first rule of business : "Without customers, you do no have a business! You just have a hobby..."

    For MobileMe, I paid the price defined by Apple. I deserve to be respected, especially if I'm not satisfied.



    Er...did you actually read the article? Jobs himself just admitted that mistakes were made and that they need to improve in the internet services area.
  • Reply 12 of 75
    mknoppmknopp Posts: 257member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    So given that Apple "rarely" fess-up. You must think they aren't great, by any stretch of the imagination. Jobs only fessed up because he knew the secret approach wouldn't work this time. It's not Apple that needs to learn, it's Jobs.



    +++



    I don't hate Steve Jobs, but I don't love him either.



    The man can do some things extraordinarily well, and some things he doesn't seem capable of doing to save his life. I will hand him that he knows how to make money. But his tactics are often right down there in the slime with those employed by Bill Gates.



    I both look forward to and dread an Apple without Steve Jobs. He has been very good for Apple in the past, but the fact is that the times are changing rapidly in computers and I often times feel that Steve is not keeping up very well.



    It is a sad day when I look at Microsoft as being more open and transparent than Apple. Don't get me wrong, I still love using the Mac OS much better than Windows, but while Microsoft is moving towards more open software and disclosure Apple is barring the gates and defending the walls of their garden.



    Unfortunately, people are getting sick of being left in the dark and being locked into proprietary formats.
  • Reply 13 of 75
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    So given that Apple "rarely" fess-up. You must think they aren't great, by any stretch of the imagination. Jobs only fessed up because he knew the secret approach wouldn't work this time. It's not Apple that needs to learn, it's Jobs.



    I think you are mistaking this internal memo for a public memo. Just because you haven't heard about more of these floating around inside the company doesn't mean they weren't issued.
  • Reply 14 of 75
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dattyx26 View Post


    You've got to be kidding me. Why am I not surprised to see this kind of pro-Apple post here. AppleInsider has the most loyal Apple fans posting, doesn't it.



    I wish they could fess up on certain hardware issues...



    Actually, Apple has been continuously hammered in these forums for the a) crappy and incompetent launch, and b) for the crappy and incompetent way they communicated their woes to their loyal fans.



    I think the message you are responding to is pretty much out of left field. AppleInsiders may be loyal but not totally blinkered, generally speaking. You won't be called a traitor for being critical in my experience.
  • Reply 15 of 75
    MobileMe is a disaster, and unworthy of Apple (I have a subscription). I have basically stopped using it, at least for a while (and migrated things I need on an ongoing basis to Google).



    I could fuss around and try to get pro-rated refunds and such from Apple, but it's not worth the hassle (see a post above from someone who tried).



    I'll get rid of my account when it expires this December.

    ---

    Btw, does anyone know if one gets to keep the mac.com address (for things such as iTunes account access) or does it disappear if someone else picks the name? Thanks.

    ---
  • Reply 16 of 75
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    What they should do is to give it away for for free (call it Beta if they must)



    What Apple did was jump into a field of service they knew nothing about and tried to rebirth it with their own vision of how web services should be.



    What they should have done was partner with Google the way they partnered with AT&T and Intel.
  • Reply 17 of 75
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wobegon View Post


    Er...did you actually read the article? Jobs himself just admitted that mistakes were made and that they need to improve in the internet services area.





    Give me a break with the attitude! The guy tried getting a refund and Apple refused.



    If Best Buy or Sears did it to you, you'd probably be all over them.
  • Reply 18 of 75
    eckingecking Posts: 1,588member
    I guess its cool that Jobs himself brought this to light instead of having someone lower one food chain come out and take the hit.
  • Reply 19 of 75
    wobegonwobegon Posts: 764member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mknopp View Post


    +++



    I don't hate Steve Jobs, but I don't love him either.



    The man can do some things extraordinarily well, and some things he doesn't seem capable of doing to save his life. I will hand him that he knows how to make money. But his tactics are often right down there in the slime with those employed by Bill Gates.



    Examples?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mknopp View Post


    I both look forward to and dread an Apple without Steve Jobs. He has been very good for Apple in the past, but the fact is that the times are changing rapidly in computers and I often times feel that Steve is not keeping up very well.



    Examples?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mknopp View Post


    It is a sad day when I look at Microsoft as being more open and transparent than Apple. Don't get me wrong, I still love using the Mac OS much better than Windows, but while Microsoft is moving towards more open software and disclosure Apple is barring the gates and defending the walls of their garden.



    Unfortunately, people are getting sick of being left in the dark and being locked into proprietary formats.



    Let's see, most of Mac OS X is open: Unix, Mach/BSD, Darwin. Windows is closed. What formats does Apple promote? The open, industry standard AAC and MP3 formats for music, and the open, industry standard MPEG-4 H.264 format for video. Microsoft pushes their closed, proprietary WMA and WMV formats for audio and video, respectively. MobileMe leverages the open SproutCore. Safari is an open, standards-compliant web browser. Internet Explorer is closed. Apple bundles in things like the X windows environment and Apache and use the open CalDAV.



    Care to clarify?
  • Reply 20 of 75
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    What Apple did was jump into a field of service they knew nothing about and tried to rebirth it with their own vision of how web services should be.



    What they should have done was partner with Google the way they partnered with AT&T and Intel.



    Excellent suggestion! Apple should listen.
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