The Blog

Aug 1, 2008

MobileMe Disasters and the Importance of Early Betas 

by Maxim Porges @ 10:36 PM | Link | Feedback (0)

Apple's MobileMe service has been seriously sucking wind since it first launched. First it was down, then it had performance problems (which I understand are ongoing), and then they even lost emails for a bunch of their customers. David Pogue has written an excellent history of the matter.

Personally, I would be mightily pissed off with Apple if I was one of their MobileMe customers and had to suffer through this.

That being said, you get what you get when you are on the cutting edge. It's a well-known fact that Apple's first-run of anything (be it new laptops or iPhone software revisions) tends to be bug-prone and unstable. Those who jump in first usually get burned, and I've seen (and personally experienced) both the best and worst examples of Apple's service recovery.

The problem, of course, is that Apple keeps things so close to their chest that they can't reveal what they are doing until the last minute, which potentially makes it very difficult to publicly beta any of their product offerings.

One of the reasons Google is so smart is that they keep many (all?) of their services in beta for an extended period of time, allowing them to work out the kinks long before a product goes gold. Of course, Google has a dirty river of search engine advertising money rolling in, so they hardly care about their value-add (and no doubt personal-info-mining) services.

That being said, one could argue that people are willing to pay to beta Apple's products for them, so who can blame them for taking the money and stashing it in the bank? If nothing else, it will help to pay for all the support calls and bloggers.