Apple today notified MobileMe subscribers via email of a new 60-day extension, adding to the the 30-day extension given in July.
What that means is that you’ll have 60-days of free MobileMe service tacked onto the end of your subscription period so you won’t have to renew until 60-says after you would have normally had to renew it.
The email acknowledges that there have been some issues but they are working to “turn this around”.
To be eligible for the credit you will have to have had an active MobileMe account as of August 19th and the credit also applies to customers using a free trial.
One of Apple’s buildings at their Cupertino, California headquarters last night was damaged as the results of a three-alarm fire that broke out at the building known as Valley Green 6.
The fire, which took firefighters around 30-minutes to put out, seemed to start at or near the buildings air conditioning unit.
No injuries were reported.
MobileMe, perhaps unaware of the fire, did NOT take that opportunity to go offline (again). Yes, I jest, but the service does seem a bit unreliable since it’s launch.
CBS has a video of the fire here if you’re interested. It’s a bit boring, actually. Just a camera guy panning around looking for things to shoot. A reporter makes a brief appearance at around the three minute mark, they mumble about doing it live, then the reporter is back in the shot for the last few seconds but not actually reporting anything.
Earlier today both Apple’s MobileMe and Google’s Gmail services each experienced their own hiccups today leaving millions of users unable to access their email.
For Gmail the problem was first reported at roughly 5pm Eastern time and was caused by a problem with the contacts system used by Gmail. Around 7:30pm Eastern things were back to normal.
Two and a half hours…not too bad.
MobileMe users, however, got the short end of things as their outage lasted closer to seven hours. The problem was reported around 2pm Eastern and seemed to affect just POP and IMAP users. People logging in to http://www.me.com/mail were still able to access their email, but those checking their email from Outlook, Mail.app, Thunderbird, an iPhone, etc., were left without email until things were resolved around 9pm Eastern.
As bad as the MobileMe launch was for Apple, that might just be the tip of the iceberg for the problems they have yet to face with their Internet infrastructure if some new information is correct.
According to some info picked up by GigaOM, Apple’s Internet infrastructure could be years behind where it really should be by now and they could use a “crash course in infrastructure and Internet services.”
The alleged problems include:
- There is no-unified IT plan vis-a-vis applications; each has their own set of servers, IT practices and release scenarios.
- Developers do testing, load testing and infrastructure planning, all of which is implemented by someone else.
- There’s no unified monitoring system.
- They use Oracle on Sun servers for the databases and everything has its own SAN storage. They do not use active Oracle RAC; it is all single-instance, on one box, with a secondary failover.
- Apparently they are putting web servers and app servers on the same machines, which causes performance problems.
Apple “doesn’t seem to have recognized the fact that it’s in the business of network-enabled hardware.”
Could MobileMe “be the canary in the coal mine”?
It would explain a few things, like the MobileMe problems (including deployment, lost email messages, and the misuse of “sync” for updating multiple computers/devices via the service), and the iTunes problems when the 2.0 firmware and iPhone 3G launched.
In an internal email sent to Apple employees by Steve Jobs obtained by Ars Technica he admits that MobileMe was launched too early and that it was “not up to Apple’s standards.”
Jobs believes that the service needed more time and testing and should have been rolled out slowly in phases instead of all of the new features being launched at once.
On a roll admitting to problems, Jobs also admits that “it was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store…We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.”
No arguments there.
“The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services…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.”
Jobs also mentioned that Eddy Cue, vice president for iTunes, will now also be in charge of the App Store and MobileMe groups.
With people already mocking the service by calling it names like “Mobile Fail” and “Fail Me”, no where to go but up, I suppose. It really does have some great potential. I couldn’t imagine not having wireless contacts and calendar syncing now that I’m been spoiled.
UPDATE: After initially being reluctant to publish it, Ars Technica has gone ahead and released the full content of Jobs’ email. To save you a click, here it is:
The launch of MobileMe was not our finest hour. There are several things we could have done better:
– MobileMe was simply not up to Apple’s standards – it clearly needed more time and testing.
– Rather than launch MobileMe as a monolithic service, we could have launched over-the-air syncing with iPhone to begin with, followed by the web applications one by one – Mail first, followed 30 days later (if things went well with Mail) by Calendar, then 30 days later by Contacts.
– It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store. We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.
We are taking many steps to learn from this experience so that we can grow MobileMe into a service that our customers will love. One step that I can share with you today is that the MobileMe team will now report to Eddy Cue, who will lead all of our internet services – iTunes, the App Store and, starting today, MobileMe. Eddy’s new title will be Vice President, Internet Services and he will now report directly to me.
The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services. 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.
[Via Ars Technica]
As Apple tries to regain their composure after the MobileMe launch debacle they’ve setup a special chat support service to help the 1% of MobileMe users who had email trouble (maybe more than 1% but that’s all Apple is admitting to).
Sounds good, right? It is…if it’s done correctly.
At least one user to attempted to get in touch with Apple support via this new chat service and was given this response almost immediately:
I’m sorry, according to our records, you were not one of the members affected by the email outage that began on July 18th. MobileMe Mail 24-hour chat support is a temporary measure designed specifically for users whose accounts were affected by that outage. For help, please visit http://www.apple.com/support/mobileme/ww for access to all of our support resources. I apologize for any inconvenience.
So according to Apple this user wasn’t affected, but they actually were, but since Apple doesn’t believe that they were they were bounced from the chat session.
If Apple’s records are wrong, that’s just one more thing that’s gone wrong for Apple lately. Sure, they’re increasing their market share and turned a huge profit so financially they’re doing very well, but combine this bad record keeping, the terrible MobileMe launch, the iTunes crash on iPhone 3G launch day, and the NDA that’s still in place for the iPhone SDK (for not good reason anyone can come up with) and you can’t help but wonder just what’s going on in Cupertino.
Steve’s been the one to run the show, calling all of the shots, and maybe his recent illness is forcing parts of the company to think for themselves, something they’re maybe not so used to?
Time will tell, I suppose.
The hits keep rolling for Apple’s MobileMe service. After sort of fixing the email problem that hit around 1% of MobileMe users, 40% of those users can now log in and get their email.
Well, the email that wasn’t lost between July 16 and July 18.
Apple says that they will be restoring email service to the remaining users “in the next few days,” but some users remain skeptical.
At least one user received an email from Apple saying that “FULL access has been restored, but it never was.”
Oh, and one more problem had popped up but has apparently been fixed. On Apple’s support site they say that “Apple identified and resolved an issue with MobieMe Sync on iPhone and iPod Touch…although no action is required for most members, some may need to reset their data from MobileMe to sync normally again.”
I haven’t personally seen this but, but at least one user was surprised when “all of the contact information on my iPhone just vanished! Names appear in contact list, but no picture, e-mail, phone number, etc.”
It’s important to keep in mind that for the vast majority of MobileMe users the service, after a rocky launch, has been working great. BUT, that doesn’t mean Apple should get a free pass on this. How could this be missed by their QA group and are they hiring?
Looks like Apple’s MobileMe service can’t catch a break. After a “serious problem” with one of Apple’s email servers affected roughly 1% of MobileMe users, Apple now has admitted that roughly 10% of those users email messages received from July 16 – 18 are lost.
I guess that’s why they didn’t just replace the server with a new one–the problem wasn’t a hardware one.
Could the “Me” name be cursed? It didn’t work out so well for Microsoft with their Windows Me operating system, largely considered the worst version of Windows ever. So far, Apple isn’t having much better luck with it.
What in the world happened, Apple? Nothing cool and hip about screwing up your customers email. Maybe instead of giving away a 30-day credit it’s time to say you’re really sorry with a $100 Apple store credit? With $1.07 billion in profits in a quarter I’d imagine you could handle it.
For most MobileMe users things have been working find for the last few days (after a very rough start for the new service).
Some users, however, are experiencing trouble with MobileMe’s email service that is preventing them from being able to send or receive email with their MobileMe email address.
The problem is reportedly affecting roughly 1% of MobileMe users and is due to a “serious” issue with one of Apple’s mail servers. Unfortunately no estimate is given for when they expect things to be functioning normally.
Note to Apple: after five days of downtime for these people (so far) maybe it’s time to replace troublesome server with some of the $1.07 billion you just made?
[Via Mac Rumors]
Sandvox, an easy to use WYSIWYG web page editor for the Mac, has been updated to version 1.2.8, with the most notable change being the addition of support for Apple’s new MobileMe service.
Also new in this version is iMedia Browser support so you’ll be able to access iPhone Events and Aperture galleries right from within Sandvox.
For more info check out the companies homepage here.