Apple's Jobs says oops on MobileMe launch

CEO acknowledges problems with the debut of MobileMe and says the company has much more to learn about delivering Internet services.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

Apple CEO Steve Jobs admitted it was a "mistake" to roll out the company's MobileMe service at the same time it launched the iPhone 3G and other big products, tech news site Ars Technica reported late Monday.

Ars Technica cited an internal memo sent by Jobs to employees that acknowledged MobileMe had flaws and was released too soon. In the memo, Jobs said the launch of the service could have been handled better, the article said. He also acknowledged the service was "not up to Apple's standards." And he said the individual MobileMe services could have been launched slowly instead of all at once.

"It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store," Jobs said in the e-mail, according to Ars Technica. "We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence."

MobileMe is the next evolution of Apple's .Mac service. It's essentially a cloud storage solution that allows subscribers to synchronize e-mail, calendars, contacts, photos, Safari bookmarks, Dashboard widgets, and more, among Macs, the iPhone, and the iPod Touch. It allows for 20GB of storage on Apple's servers, and it even cooperates with Outlook on Windows computers. Because it is Web based, subscribers can access the online applications from any Web browser.

But from its launch on July 10, MobileMe had problems. Most notably subscribers had trouble accessing the site, and some even lost e-mail.

In a blog started by Apple to keep subscribers up to date on the status of MobileMe, the company acknowledged that some people lost 10 percent of their e-mail between July 16 and July 18 during the height of the outage.

That said, Apple asserts that only 1 percent of MobileMe users were affected by the e-mail issues, which were apparently caused by a "serious problem with one of our mail servers," according to the Apple blog.

MobileMe subscribers also had problems accessing calendars and contact information, which was caused by a misjudgment in demand, according to the Apple blog.

In this most recent memo to employees, Jobs urged them to learn from the mistakes and move on.

"The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services," Jobs was quoted as saying in the memo. "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."