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Apple Apologizes For MobileMe

Earlier today, Apple sent an e-mail to users of MobileMe, the $99/year e-mail/calendar/contacts/photo-album service that replaced its earlier .Mac offering. It was not the usual bland "thank you for your support" communication you might expect after a new site's launch:

We have recently completed the transition from .Mac to MobileMe. Unfortunately, it was a lot rockier than we had hoped.

Although core services such as Mail, iDisk, Sync, Back to My Mac, and Gallery went relatively smoothly, the new MobileMe web applications had lots of problems initially.

The message went on to say that "we have worked through those problems and the web apps are now up and running," but also contained a further apology for misleading marketing:

Another snag we have run into is our use of the word "push" in describing everything under the MobileMe umbrella. While all email, contact or calendar changes on the iPhone and the web apps are immediately synced to and from the MobileMe "cloud," changes made on a PC or Mac take up to 15 minutes to sync with the cloud and your other devices. So even though things are indeed instantly pushed to and from your iPhone and the web apps today, we are going to stop using the word "push" until it is near-instant on PCs and Macs, too.

It concluded by saying that MobileMe subscribers would get a free, 30-day extension of their accounts (an $8.25 value, Glenn Fleishman notes in Tidbits).

Considering how badly this service launched -- see the long litany of user complaints compiled by the MacInTouch site -- an apology seems appropriate. (You're welcome to share/vent about your own MobileMe experiences here, of course.)

But that got me to thinking: How often have tech companies apologized for screwing up? How often should they? So let's talk about that: Post your nominations for "2008 Tech Mishaps That Should Have Been Followed Up By Corporate-Level Groveling For Forgiveness" in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  July 16, 2008; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  Mac  
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Next: Apple Renews, But Doesn't Reinvent, the iPhone


How often has Wall Street, investment bankers (advisors), Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, etc. (corporations not excluded) screwed up and done nothing except reap multi-million dollar bonuses? Every single day.

Apple is to be commended for trying to make it right. Others should do the same. As far as activation of the 3G iPhone - that problem goes to AT&T.

Posted by: TomE | July 16, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see an apology from Microsoft for Vista! For all of the wasted hours so many have put into try to adopt their new OS, only in the end to have to roll back to XP. This year I have spent 1900.00 on a laptop with vista business only to find out that it would not support all of my RAM. 300+ dollars on the upgrade to ultimate (what a joke!). At least 40+ hours doing installs, re-image, patch downloads etc. And countless hours wonder why the he** my applications work sometimes, windows and dialog boxes are empty etc. That is a blunder that I am sure many people have gone through and felt the pain, and here is Microsoft "We think Vista is a good opperating system".

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I am of the opinion that anyone manufacturing anything today has some 'splainin to do. At no time in my life have I witnessed such disregard for personal responsibility as it applies to sales of so many items. You would think that governmental agencies would somehow move to protect consumers from the blatant thievery today. Oh wait, we do have a consumer advocacy agency... they just don't do anything. More court actions anyone?

Posted by: manwithfinger | July 16, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Headline should read: "Apple Apologizes For MobileMe PROBLEMS"

The original headline has a completely different meaning than the article.

This is journalism 101, folks. The article is fine, on the other hand.

Posted by: Derek Knight | July 16, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

(Sent to me by a frustrated friend who I'm pretty sure is not the least bit interested in the "free one month" of Mobile Me which Apple is offering to help sooth their (former) customers...)

"What I want to share that today I went to a different host for my website. Using GoDaddy at half the
price as DotMac.

After trying to get this resolved for 5 days, countless hours and countless amounts of stress, I
am done.

Not only did dotmac not work, the mobile me didn't work. I couldn't even get into the area of the mobile me website to try because it kept rejecting my password which was correct.

On top of that, the day mobile me took over, my website was all funky. Many question marks, funny lines, graphics missing from the backgrounds which are the iWeb backgrounds, not mine.
Many, many people had this problem.

Obviously from the thousands of postings to the forums, I was not alone. And, many postings about
how disappointed and shocked people are with Apple's NON-performance with this.

I actually had to go through a grieving process like I had lost a friend. Had become so trusting in
Apple and my ability to press a button and have things work that this whole experience felt like a betrayal and a loss.

It's a computer and software, but it felt like a friend who couldn't be trusted anymore. Seems odd but, again, many others feel this way from reading the forums. Especially those of us who are not computer experts.

Also, the reason I went with GoDaddy is simple. Every single time I have had a question about the domain or anything, there is a human being answering the phone right away and being helpful and nice. I cannot tell you how how valuable that is, especially considering the inability of being able to contact Apple re DotMac other than by email through their site. I did that, of course,
and, of course, have heard nothing...not even the usual form response that they will respond soon.

Today when I was trying to do the host thing with GoDaddy, once again, a human being on the phone
helped me through every step. So, I can't say enough about GoDaddy for that reason."

Posted by: Dave D. | July 16, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I am very proud to use Apple products because of it's business model. I truly wish all corporations would try to behave as responsibly and as friendly as Apple has always been with it's dealings with me. You can be sure that any "screw up" on their part with be fixed and made right for you. It's just the decent thing to do.

Posted by: joji davis | July 16, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I bought a HP notebook from Costco about a year ago. Its got Vista Home Premium. It works like a charm. I haven't had any problems what so ever. Media Center is awesome. I use my notebook daily and I'm really impressed with Vista. Instead of trying to upgrade to Vista with an older PC I decided to buy one that's up to the task of running Vista. Maybe you should too, guy who spend countless hours working on Vista.... You should have realized after a few hours that you didn't have the skill to make it work, and just bought a PC/Notebook with it pre-installed. Hopefully you'll learn from this exercise but I'd doubt it.

Posted by: Tom | July 16, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Tom said:

"Instead of trying to upgrade to Vista with an older PC I decided to buy one that's up to the task of running Vista. Maybe you should too, guy who spend countless hours working on Vista"


Ok, normally I don't feed trolls, but I can't resist this time. Dude, you didn't take much care when you read the person's post that you flamed. They said that they bought a new machine with Vista Business this year, and, among other things, it won't recognize all of the RAM. Sounds like the hardware is up to the task, but maybe not so much with the software (OS). I could understand if this was an upgrade on ancient hardware, but having these kinds of problems with a pre-installed OS on a new machine is unacceptable. Now crawl back under your bridge where you belong, Mr. Troll.

Posted by: A. Nonymous | July 16, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I apologize for my stupidity, you are right.

Posted by: Tom | July 17, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I didn't get in on the MobileMe to start, but was seriously considering it just for the "push" servicing. I'm not sure anything is that important in my life that I need things sync'd in anything more than 15 minute increments....BUT, if you go back and watch the WWDC keynote, Apple hammers that push point over and over. I think that is a big issue, in addition to the rollout issues Apple faced.....

Posted by: CP | July 18, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I only have one word:


No, I forgot, that was only round 1.

Round 2: SP1

Hideous operating system. Hideous "upgrade" Almost enough to make me tolerate those stupid jumping icons on the MAC...but not quite.

Posted by: Patricia | July 18, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

yes, i'd love to see other companies apologize when they err, and then actually fix the problems right away. i had an original .mac account and got the email apology about mobile me. i'm waiting until Sept to get the iPhone. i remember a software developer, a long time ago, telling me not buy any system that had an 0 after it because bugs always appear and it takes time to fix things. Vista took 7 years. Give Apple a break...the iPhone is only a year old and it's fantastic.

Posted by: mollytjm | July 18, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I had never had more problems than with dot mac-now mobile me.

I am changing mail. I cannot believe I actually PAY for this.

It is not only the mobile me migration, there always seems to be something... and I agree that there is never a live body anywhere to contact for support or even an explanation.

I currently cannot get my mail, and this is not unusual!!! Its the NORM!!!

Posted by: pist | July 18, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I never got the apology email, but as a longtime .Mac subscriber and ProCare member, I made an appointment and went to my local Apple store today because the "push" contacts had pushed out all but 77 of my 532 contacts. The Genius at the Genius bar fixed it through Mobile Me System Preferences. But I'm glad they're dropping the "push" designation, because it's misleading. I'm grateful for the apology. No one, especially companies/corporations want to take responsibility when things don't perform as they should. It's always someone else's fault. I was a Windows user back to MS DOS, and switched to a Mac four years ago. I look longingly at the small Sony Vaio laptops and wish I had a computer that size instead of my new 15" MBP, but I'm not willing to go back to Windows. Ever.

Posted by: katherine | July 18, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I had to send a note to all my friends. Here's a portion:

Please change my e-mail address in your your address book and don't send any more messages to me at
Please, from now on, use only my yahoo address as I cannot vouch for's reliability.
Sorry for the inconvenience. It's worse on me than it is on you. I had no plans to change my service but lately mac mail has gone down more often than I can live with.

Two days without e-mail! What do they think we are? I lost a pile of money yesterday. Apple, you're fired.

Posted by: K. Moon | July 19, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

@ Patricia and [blank]

I'm an IT consultant for a major higher education institution. We are running about 5K Vista boxes, and all I can say is that I'm glad we're not running XP anymore. For personal use, yes there is a learning curve, as can be expected with any usability upgrade. Vista is a different user experience, yes; I'm in the camp that thinks that a good thing. It's still Windows, you can customize pretty much anything you like that bothers you. And in terms of what you can do with it, it is so much better. Yes it has flaws, but so does everything.

And in regard to the original content of this post. Why oh, why did Apple put MobileMe in my Control Panel when I upgraded to iTunes 7.7? First they push Safari on me by default in Apple Updater, now this... You're starting to behave like Microsoft, don't do it.

Posted by: Peter | July 21, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I was very excited to learn that I can sync my contacts and calendars on my ThinkPad with mobile me. However, this feature does not seem to work. Have other people had this problem?

Posted by: James Morrison | July 21, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I think the voters of the United States should apologize to the civilized world for re-electing Bush.

Posted by: anon | July 21, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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