Thursday, February 04, 2010

Apple's MobileMe not Trustworthy

That is a bold statement for me to make. After all, I am regularly talking about Cloud computing to a number of people and advocating its use. I have written several articles on Adobe's move into the clouds and have also clearly articulated that there are some subtle issues that need to be worked out. Nothing has prepared me for what MobileMe has done to my data.

It started last night as I was cleaning out my inbox and found a friend who had changed their address. I logged in to to make the changes to my master records for my address book only to discover that Apple's cloud said I had no contacts. Now this frightened me a little (I still have local back ups) so I contacted them. Within 12 hours my contacts were back again. It was an older copy, however, so I had to fix multiple details. I relaxed a bit and slept.

Today, I got an even worse message. I have the same (you have no contacts) message (see below).

Since I was logged in on another machine, I tried to refresh that page only to now get a message that says "Your MobileMe contacts are temporarily unavailable".


Let me repeat that again:


Since MobileMe offers only chat support, I could not really tell them about this and how I felt. I asked the person twice directly "Has Apple had an event or has my data been corrupted?". The first time there was no response and when I asked the second time, the reply was "I am not aware...". So, what can we infer from this (other than Apple might have issues with their cloud)?

I think the first thing is that we really need a cloud users' "Bill of Rights". I want to be notified if my data becomes corrupt, lost, stolen, exposed, etc. It is MY data, not Apple's. If they have had an event, I believe I am entitled to know about it. The generic messages just tell me that MobileMe is not enterprise ready nor should it be trusted.


An Apple rep got in touch with me and worked with me. There are sync issues with MobileMe and they are aware of them. To be fair and balanced, the Apple employee was timely, professional and courteous as well as understood my frustration. While I am skeptical of MobileMe being enterprise ready, I will be giving it another chance for a year.

Thank you Apple! Your customer service was good.


  1. Update: The person who was assigned to help me said "There is no record of you having contacts" Apple messed up. I want my money back from Mobile Me!!!

  2. Update: I have had to manually re-create my contacts list now from Time Machine but I will never trust mobile me or the service desk from Apple again. This is going to take several hours to restore.

    Thanks mobile me. I want my money back!!!

  3. I would recommend switching to Google for email, contact list, calender etc. So far they have proved very reliable.

  4. That's one of the biggest arguments against cloud computing. What you no longer have to sink into infastructure costs, you also have as lost control. The thing to remember is that Google/Apple/etc don't care about your data nearly as much as you do. To them, your data is just 'stuff'. So, when there is an outage, or a mishap with your data, they wouldn't care as much as if it was their own. The same would be true if it was you caring for somebody else's data... If your company's home page went down, that would be all the news in the world to you, but if one of your hosting customers' page went down, then it would be in the 'we will fix it soon' category.

    The kicker with it all is, even if you have an SLA, you are not in control if fixing the situation. Although the results may have been the same as if you ran your own servers/infastructure, since you 'own' the situation, it is your own issue.

  5. I agree. We discussed a "Cloud Computer Users Bill of Rights" at Foo Camp two years back. I think it is now time.

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