I've written about Apple fairly often (both on the blog and in my book, Join the Conversation). For the most part, I'm more often critical than complimentary, based on what I think is a very one-sided and in these times, archaic approach to customer service, community and openness.
Before the Mac Zealots unleash hell on me, I'd like to believe I give credit when credit is due. The iPhone is a masterpiece; a game changer; I <3 the iPhone (I can't believe I just did that)
Perhaps part of the reason why I've taken this tough love position is the need to counter balance all the goo-goo eyed marketers that slobber over the Apple brand ever day and seem to benchmark everything they aspire to do around a usual suspect list of Apple, Nike, BMW and, oh yes, that's it.
Time to burst the bubble. In recent times we've seen even the mighty Apple come down to earth, for example: the price drop and Steve Jobs' (to his credit - pun not intended) apology.
And now, we have an internal memo ('er doesn't that normally happen to other companies?) being leaked from Jobs to the company admitting that MobileMe was released too early and was "not up to Apple's standards." Here's the full text:
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.
Like Sony that once could do nothing wrong (Minidisk vs PS3), even Apple is human and cannot hide behind the blended mystique and aura of innovation and aspiration. Jobs' apology is a step in the right direction, but (unless he intended this to leak out) clearly he should be extending this apology beyond Infinite Loop.
Furthermore, could this have been avoided? This prime example of detached and aloof thinking, without a contingency plan or customer service backup (pun kind of intended) arguably hurts the brand and may very well leave an incurable dent on the hat of MobileMe's future sales.
Now can I have the 60-hours of my life back, please.