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MobileMess: sporadic email, data loss

updated 07:05 pm EDT, Thu July 24, 2008

MobileMe more problems

Apple's MobileMe service has been plagued with problems since its inception two weeks ago. Recently users have been experiencing issues connecting to the Mail server, preventing the use the service's most touted feature. For many, inboxes remain empty, and messages unsent, but some had luck and found they could suddenly access the mail server. Reports of data loss have begun to surface, the root problem occurring when a device tries to sync with the new MobileMe server. While some users finally report the nearly week-long MobileMe email outage is over, others found they have lost their stored emails entirely.

The problems began with approximately one percent of MobileMe members not being able to access MobileMe Mail. Unfortunately, for users and Apple alike, there are about 2 million .Mac/MobileMe members meaning that one percent could end up being 20,000 people or more. For most of these users it seems as though MobileMe's email features simply do not work. The Mail app at Me.com would continually show up empty, while outgoing messages won't send and incoming messages bounce back.

Others still have had much worse problems; one user reported the following on Apple's discussion board, "I was part of the "1%" on July 16. When service came back on July 17, I went to check my email and I found that ALL of my email -- thousands of email in every default and custom folder -- had disappeared from the .Mac/MobileMe server during the transition. When Mail.app synced with the server, it erased all of my email locally too. Every single email I had stored on the .Mac/MobileMe server -- again, thousands of email over three years of using .Mac -- is now gone."

It does not seem to be an isolated issue, as more complaints similar to the one above are showing up in the MobileMe support pages daily and Apple has yet to reply to these dismayed users.

David Pogue of the NY Times attempted taking matters into his own hands and contacted Apple's PR division to see if he could find any answers. Apple replied with a fairly standard explanation, mirroring the wording of Apple's recent gift to affected MobileMe subscribers. "The .Mac to MobileMe transition was a lot rockier than we had hoped, and we are still having some growing pains. Some users have been having problems with their e-mail in particular, and we are trying to restore the service as soon as possible. We're very thankful for our loyal customers' patience as we work out the kinks."

As Pogue also states, Apple has done so little to recognize the situation. There are many upset customers paying for a service that does not function properly, while keeping users relatively in the dark. Walt Mossberg has even recommended to his listeners and readers to avoid MobileMe for the time being as it is simply "too ragged".




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. A grain of salt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    They did apologise.

    "As Pogue also states, it is amazing that Apple has done so little to recognize the situation. There are a lot of upset customers paying for a service that simply does not work, and all Apple has to say is we apologize for the situation."

    They have given people an apology and a months free service. In fact there is an apology on the support page.

    http://www.apple.com/support/mobileme/

    Other than fixing the problem, I can see very little else Apple can do other than giving out more months of free service for those still effected. I'm sure Apple wants to solve the problem as quickly as they can.

  1. Nemco

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Did they?

    The funny things about these apologies is that so many people, myself included, never got them. I had to read on the internet that Apple is giving out free service as a compensation.

    The other point is that these are e-mails, unsigned, unnamed... it's like an automatic response from the system, and comes across very cold. Why can't Apple admit that since 7/11 they've been s******* up on the clock, and make a decent press statement, and who knows... even put it on their website maybe. Show customers, and people around the world that you are sorry and you do care. Maybe they don't...

    If some company like Google steps up tomorrow and says: "hey we're adding push to our service", Apple will lose many many customers over their unprofessionalism.

  1. lowededwookie

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Ahh the illogical

    What would you rather have happen, have Apple waste time telling everyone there is a problem therefore telling people what they already know or have people work on the problems?

    If you can't get to your e-mail then what's the point of Apple sending you one in the first place telling you there's a problem?

    All you have to do is log into the website and the system will tell you what's up. If you can't then clearly there's a problem so you don't need to be told by Apple that there's a problem do you.

    Is it just me or have people lost the ability to think logically?

  1. lowededwookie

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -5

    Ahh the illogical

    What would you rather have happen, have Apple waste time telling everyone there is a problem therefore telling people what they already know or have people work on the problems?

    If you can't get to your e-mail then what's the point of Apple sending you one in the first place telling you there's a problem?

    All you have to do is log into the website and the system will tell you what's up. If you can't then clearly there's a problem so you don't need to be told by Apple that there's a problem do you?

    Is it just me or have people lost the ability to think logically?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Re: ahh the illogical

    What would you rather have happen, have Apple waste time telling everyone there is a problem therefore telling people what they already know or have people work on the problems?

    Right, because if they decided to send out email or posting information, it would require the entire MobileMe staff to stop work on fixes, get together, determine what to say, have lunch, then get back to work.

    Oh, wait, that's right, they'd have the PR dept handle it and it wouldn't affect the MobileMe's team work one iota.

    If you can't get to your e-mail then what's the point of Apple sending you one in the first place telling you there's a problem?


    When you sign up for MobileMe, you specify a secondary address. They could send it there. They could also put some information up on the main Mobile me page, and the support page, and....

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: they did apologise

    Other than fixing the problem, I can see very little else Apple can do other than giving out more months of free service for those still effected. I'm sure Apple wants to solve the problem as quickly as they can.

    But that's the whole part of the problem. This has been handled so much like MS. You can tell the whole thing was on a deadline, they didn't reach it, and the whole system came crashing down. That shows that there was a complete lack of control there (man, it actually is like Apple in the early days!).

    But this is what happens when you schedule release of a whole new web software based on nothing more than making a splash with the iPhone. They really screwed it up in many ways.

    And lest we forget, they had a service that WORKED (certainly better than mobileMe). They could have kept .Mac, added the 'cloud' push c***, and rolled out the new web apps as they were finished (because people still mention the missing features of mail and the others).

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    False Start

    Well, I did get the email. I've been using the iTools, .Mac, mobile-me, from the beginning. The idea is great, and I've taken advantage of their online service offerings. But it's clear that from the beginning Apple just hasn't gotten it right, either just not offering that much to justify the cost or just being behind the times when compared to the free offerings. I really think this last effort - Mobile Me - has a value that's worth the $99 a year. That being said, they clearly hadn't anticipated all the issues they'd be having after launch. The 30-days free, for me anyways, is an acceptable apology, but unlike some, I have not had the email outage others seem to be experiencing, though I'm not using my .me email, still my .mac (don't know if that makes a difference). I think once Apples gets this running the way it's was intended it'll be what everyone else tries to emulate. It may be that they need to reach out a little bit more to those severely affected by offering them a free year.

  1. MeandmyMac

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Nice sentiment, but...

    "I think once Apples gets this running the way it's was intended it'll be what everyone else tries to emulate. It may be that they need to reach out a little bit more to those severely affected by offering them a free year." - Nice sentiment, but FAT CHANCE.

  1. jvputten

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    secondary e-mail address

    "When you sign up for MobileMe, you specify a secondary address. They could send it there."

    When MobileMe was implemented, I couldn't access my e-mail. So I sent MobileMe tech support an e-mail message through the Apple web page and clearly stated, "Please reply to my secondary e-mail address."

    Where was the reply sent? My MobileMe account that I couldn't access ...

  1. redwood

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Push

    Other services can't just add push. ATT has to decide to provide the mobile number in a header (that they totally control) and then, they have to allow the provider (gmail, hotmail, whatever) to push, again, a setting they totally control.

    So, don't hold your breath. There are hacks, like sending the phone an SMS, to make it wake up and then having that SMS force a "PULL" from the email server, but again, SMS is not unlimited... so... they got that angled covered too.

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