[image credit – Engadget]
I just read on Twitter that Apple is blogging – with Steve Jobs apparently asking one of his staff to post daily about the MobileMe debacle. I was about to welcome them in to the warm blogging waters but one thing is missing from this “blog” – no ability to comment.
Shame really as I’d love to see some of their customer comments – you can get a sense over at Engadget though.
I know….maybe I could go shoot a video though – Mojave style – asking what people think of MobileMe? If I really wanted to have some fun I’d shoot a video “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC style” with MobileMe and LiveMesh. Oh but they’re not the same thing….tempting all the same. Meanwhile, Windows Live just works. For several hundred million users – for free.
Seriously though, as I’ve said before this cloud computing stuff is very, very hard – especially when you want to do it at scale and especially when you want to charge someone for it. Google do a great job with free services like GMail and we do pretty well too with Hotmail, Messenger and others. When the financial analysts asks why we’re sinking money in to online services and vast capital outlay in datacentres and their efficient operation, this is why.
[update 1] Last100 does a pretty good job of rounding up the feeling from the blogosphere and tech reporters.
Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt asks the question, “Who is to blame for MobileMe?” calling it “Apple’s worst product launch in the 10 years since Jobs returned from exile.”
Just noticed new follower on Twitter is a MobileMe engineer. I get the feeling I’m being watched.
I really don't need to mention the Hotmail outage this year do I? I was unable to access my WL Mail for 4 days.
Apple has a support forum for customers to leave their comments. You can find the MobileMe one here.
As for Apple blogs, lets not imply that this is "almost" their first. Surfin Safari has been around for 3 years.
Truth is Apple handle their PR in a very different way to Microsoft. For the most part, its worked far better as they generally let the products do the talking and not thousands of employees. And we can fairly conclusively say that Apple has a far better customer perception than Microsoft over the past five years. Blogging isn't something every company must do. Google don't really blog either (their official blogs are basically press release blogs). Yet Sun do and look at the difference in perception between those two.
Sometimes that lack of talking to customers will hurt Apple, as is the MobileMe incident which thankfully they are now addressing. But lets not act like one size fits all. Apple does what they do and on the whole the secrecy has worked brilliant for them, earning them an incredible amount of free publicity.
Oh, and there are quite a few employee blogs out there too. I'm subscribed to a bunch...perhaps 12 or so. One of my favourites is bbum
Obviously they don't speak on things unreleased that they are working on, but they are "Apple" blogs. They just don't fall under an umbrella like the MSDN blogs, so are often difficult to find.
You gotta laugh (from the sidelines!)
Smythe, actually I'm glad you did mention the Hotmail outage. Did you lose any email during the outage? Do you pay for Hotmail? It doesn't excuse the outage but to compare the two is an interesting way to view could services - if you're going to charge, you really do have to get it right.
As for PR and blogs, we do it our way - Apple, Google and Sun do it theirs. I never said companies have to do it and your right, Apple PR is excpetional. What I am saying is if you're going to have a blog (though I'm not sure Apple would call it that), at least enable comments or *point* people to the forums where they can leave comments.
As for secrecy working brilliantly, I feel that tide may be turning.
Smythe - thanks for the links to the Apple blogs btw. very useful
Eish. Typical, marketing and big mouths all Microsoft has, admit you are unstable and suck, leave Apple the hell out of it.
that's kind of a broad statement Marinda - we're "unstable and suck". care to elaborate?
Actually, yes I do pay for Hotmail in a roundabout way to get similar functionality to MobileMe mail - I use the Outlook connector (pay for Outlook which I love)
As for the tide turning regarding secrecy, I doubt it. What you point to isn't really fair, given that Steve expects his health to remain a private matter. With record attendees at the recent WWDC, record Mac sales in the last quarter and the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever in the iPhone, i'd say their secrecy stance is still working.
@smythe glad to hear you enjoy Outlook. Assume you're aware of the latest Calendar connector too?
With respect to the secrecy thing, lets set aside the stuff about Steve's health as I totally agree with you and think the public discussion on that is out of order.
I was more alluding to the increased demands from the press, public and most importantly shareholders as Apple's success increases. I don't think the secrecy is the key to success of products like the iPod and iPhone - frankly they're just damn good products - but as the company gets more and more success, so the element of secrecy becomes harder. Shareholders will demand it and the network of companies that Apple works with also become sources of leaks.
While I'm all for a bit of fun turning Mac vs PC on it's head (*), I'd be hesitant with Mesh at this point. A full scale Web rollout is quite different from what how Mesh is used now, and even the Microsoft engineers seemed a little scared about the full-scale rollout in their initial C9 videos.
This morning I had a chance to try Cuil.com before it started to break down -- and it was great. Actually, for Central Europe clearly better than Live Search. But read ZDNet's BTL and others for how it looked to people that came 4 hours later. I doubt Cuil will be able to recover from this PR debacle.
(*) introducing Mac's younger brother and sister as PC guys, for example
Wolke Snow - I *totally* agree with you and have posted here before about Live Mesh and MobileMe being a bad comparison feature wise but also because Mesh isn't even in beta - it's a Tech Preview.
We're going to test the crap out of it til it's ready for full scale launch you can be sure.