MobileMeh

January, 2000: Apple unveiled iTools. Provided for free to anyone running OS 9, it provided a POP email account at mac.com, 20 MB of internet-based storage referred to as iDisk, web hosting space, and internet filtering software to keep the kids safe. It was 2000, I was in college, it was free. I could not argue. I took the address remy@mac.com.

July, 2002: iTools relaunches as “.Mac”. It begins to cost $100 a year. Having just graduated, and not wanting to be tied to my university email for the rest of my life, I opt to start paying in October.

October, 2003: I renew my .Mac account. I am happy with the service.

February 2004: I purchase my first Sidekick. It does not sync contacts with my phone, thus increasing the value of address book sync.

April, 2004: Gmail launches. Unable to take a name of less than six characters, I default back to “remydwd” as my user name. My .Mac email account falls out of favor, but continue to renew the account for address book synchronization.

October, 2004: I renew my .Mac account. I feel like I am getting enough out of the address book, bookmarks, and keychain sync to justify the cost, and Katie’s email account is attached as a sub-account.

October, 2005: I renew my .Mac account. I still feel like I am getting enough out of the address book, bookmarks, and keychain sync to justify the cost, and Katie’s email account is attached as a sub-account.

April, 2006: Google Calendar launches. Any use I had for iCal as a primary repository of my calendaring now goes out the window.

October, 2006: I renew my .Mac account. I’m not entirely sure I am getting enough out of the sync to justify the cost, but Katie’s email account is attached as a sub-account.
June, 2007: The iPhone comes out. I buy one the day after release. I finally replace my Sidekick with a phone that can actually sync my address book.

October, 2007: Leopard launches, which features “Back to My Mac”. I finally have some degree of reliable screen sharing between home and the office. I happily renew my .Mac account.

April, 2008: I get an invite to Dropbox. I immediately forget about the existence of iDisk – not that I had ever used it much to begin with.

June, 2008: .Mac relaunches as MobileMe. It is largely terrible for the first few months. I don’t notice much as I’m not using the service – not even on my iPhone for over-the-air contact syncing, which blows out my address book the first time I try it. I get a three month service extension to compensate for the poor service.

January, 2009: I renew my .Mac account. Katie has switched to Gmail at long last, but Back To My Mac is still mostly useful.

June, 2009: iPhone OS 3.0 is released. “Find my iPhone” is added as a feature to MobileMe. I find it neat but ultimately useless, as I could remote wipe through a console at the office. I can now get both my work and personal calendar over the air, reliably. I refer to this as the “holy grail” around the office.

January 2010: I face reality. When you have extremely reliable, robust email from Google, cloud storage with every feature I can imagine from Dropbox, and I’m able to carry my address book with me on my iPhone all the time, I am unable to see any reason to continue with MobileMe. I decline to renew my account.

Narrative aside, there’s a lesson here: if you’re going to provide core internet services, consider the price differential between you and your strongest competitor. If it’s a little, you only need to be a little better.

$100 a year for what feels like a worse product than what’s available for free? Your business model is *screwed*. Start over, do better.

  • Took you long enough! ;P

  • MHA

    I’ve been renewing by finding cheaper options. Just today got from Amazon a MobileMe license for $70.

    I think the syncing of all of my calendar and contact stuff from machine to machine, not to mention instantly hitting my iPhone, is worth continuing to renew. I’m sure I could replicate everything with other tools, including Google’s, but I’m also happy to not have to deal with moving stuff away from my (admittedly, rarely used) mha@mac.com address.

  • Took you long enough! ;P

  • brettp

    I signed up for iTools on day one. Havne't lived without it until Jan 11 this year when I'd had enough for all the same reasons. I couldn't be more pleased that there are other options that are low cost/free and get more reliable service. I took the $100 and bought a great bottle of wine. I think I enjoyed that more than the MobileMe services.

  • brettp

    I signed up for iTools on day one. Havne’t lived without it until Jan 11 this year when I’d had enough for all the same reasons. I couldn’t be more pleased that there are other options that are low cost/free and get more reliable service. I took the $100 and bought a great bottle of wine. I think I enjoyed that more than the MobileMe services.

  • Dan, in addition to Dropbox, you might want to try Syncables. It is a desktop software (runs on Win/Mac/Ubuntu) that lets you automatically keep your files and folders synced across all computers via your home WiFi network. I think you will find that is very complimentary to your Dropbox service in that you can still sync and access your files and folders from any computer, even if you are not connected to the Internet.

    You can email me directly at ola@syncables.com if you want to try it out.

    Thanks

    Ola Ajayi
    http://www.syncables.com

  • Dan, in addition to Dropbox, you might want to try Syncables. It is a desktop software (runs on Win/Mac/Ubuntu) that lets you automatically keep your files and folders synced across all computers via your home WiFi network. I think you will find that is very complimentary to your Dropbox service in that you can still sync and access your files and folders from any computer, even if you are not connected to the Internet.

    You can email me directly at ola@syncables.com if you want to try it out.

    Thanks

    Ola Ajayi
    http://www.syncables.com