Apple CEO admits mistake

APPLE A DAY

August 07, 2008|By DAVID ZEILER

In a rare admission of culpability, Apple CEO Steve Jobs sent out a memo to employees this week acknowledging that launching MobileMe at the same time as the iPhone 3G was a bad idea.

The memo, obtained by Web site Ars Technica, was sent to Apple employees Monday evening.

"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," Jobs wrote.

Since I came down pretty hard on Apple and Jobs in the aftermath of the chaotic MobileMe launch, during which customers had trouble accessing the service (particularly their e-mail) and activating their new 3G iPhones, I'd like to be among the first to applaud this acknowledgment that Apple could have executed better.

Jobs goes on: "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."

Good for you, Steve. In the past, Apple has struggled to admit mistakes, which inevitably has delayed correcting them. Perhaps Jobs has had an epiphany. (We can hope.)

I suspect the unusually negative publicity that accompanied the iPhone 3G/MobileMe launch and the ensuing MobileMe service glitches caught Jobs' attention.

And not just Apple bloggers like yours truly, but major tech journalists such as David Pogue of The New York Times and Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal. Those two nearly always swoon over everything Apple does, but both had harsh words for MobileMe. That must have bruised Jobs' ego.

But hey, whatever works, right? Apple is committed to making MobileMe work as intended, and that's all that matters now.

Read Dave Zeiler's Apple blog at www.baltimoresun.com/business/appleaday

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