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Mossberg pans MobileMe amid service outages

In a rare slap at an Apple product, the Journal's Walt Mossberg suggests people avoid the MobileMe service, even before taking into account the e-mail outages of its first few weeks.

Apple's MobileMe cloud service is off to a rocky start, alienating even Walt Mossberg.
Susan Dove/CNET News

As if Apple wasn't having enough problems with its launch of MobileMe, its usually reliable friend Walt Mossberg has recommended that people stay far away from the service.

Mossberg's review on All Things Digital doesn't even take into account the service outages that have many former .Mac users up in arms over their inability to access e-mail. In his view, "it's a great idea, but, as of now, MobileMe has too many flaws to keep its promises."

MobileMe does more than just give you e-mail: it's designed to let you access your contacts, calendars, and bookmarks from any computer connected to the Internet. One flaw that bothered Mossberg was the fact that while changes made to one of those applications on an iPhone sync instantly, changes made on the Dell PCs and Macs he used in his testing synced in 15-minute intervals. Apple has acknowledged that issue and says it's working on a fix.

But the main issue seems to be that MobileMe is sluggish and buggy, according to Mossberg. Web pages load very slowly, synchronization with Microsoft's Outlook e-mail software seems problematic, and manual refreshes were required to make changes appear inside calendar appointment.

The MobileMe mail problems don't seem to have been fixed, although Apple is still claiming that only 1 percent of all MobileMe users are affected. While that's indeed a pressing problem, Mossberg's experience is enough to make you wonder if Apple's a bit over its head trying to run a cloud computing service.

As an aside, an informal poll of the CNET staff could not turn up the last Apple product that Mossberg flat-out panned. The closest we came was the original Motorola Rokr phone, which to be fair, nobody liked.