The Steve Jobs-Style MobileMe 'Apology'

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Users of Apple's troubled MobileMe data syncing service received an apology of sorts from Apple's Steve Jobs yesterday. In an internal e-mail "leaked" to the outside world, Jobs admitted the launch of MobileMe was "not [Apple's] finest hour" and that MobileMe "clearly needed more time and testing." MobileMe launched the same day as the iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and App Store.The service suffered many problems, including downtime, e-mail outage and lost messages.

It looks like this leaked e-mail is the closest thing we'll see to Jobs eating a slice of humble pie over the mess. And according to Web comments reacting to the "leaked" Jobs e-mail the "apology" has been accepted. Most of the Internet buzz took the tone of Apple forgiveness for the MobileMe mess and thankfulness that Jobs conceded blame – albeit officially not publicly.

I have to agree with chit-chat on the Web that Jobs' e-mail wasn't actually leaked but released in a clever marketing ploy. There is just no way Jobs didn't intend to have this e-mail leaked.

Official or not, this uncharacteristic apology by Jobs should be a bit more meaningful than the closest thing to a public apology by Apple that took the form of a cold message left on Apple's MobileMe blog:

"We have completed restoring Mail service, including historical messages, to all of the 1 percent of affected members. Thank you all for your extreme patience during this trying time."

Here is Jobs' "leaked" e-mail in its entirety:


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.


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