July 27, 2008
It’s fun being on the sidelines watching this one!
Steve Clayton from Microsoft was pretty chuffed to be able to blog about Apple’s MobileMe debacle. One could almost hear the glee in his words reporting that, for once something El Jobso touched didn’t turn to gold. He also got to take a broadside at the MobileMe "blog" (which he criticised for being one way with no comment functionality).
Commenters on Steve’s blog managed to get back though, pointing out both the fact of Hotmail’s outage earlier this year and the fact that this isn’t Apple’s first ever blog, and that yes there is the ability for users to question the MobileMe status.
Steve even got so excited as to tell the world that MobileMe engineer Thomas Han is following him on Twitter.
Oh how messy…
So here’s my take;
- For Apple this is a class one cock-up. They’ve built a brand on excellent usability and reliability, And have excoriated Microsoft for their lack of same. The MobileMe rollout (regardless of the good reasons for the problems) has very much sullied Cupertino’s perfect(ish) record
- Microsoft really shouldn’t be throwing glasses from within their stone house. Regardless of whether or not Mojave manages to convince the world that Vista is a good thing, no one within MS would deny that they haven’t had their share of problems over the years
More importantly than the name calling et al is the fact that this situation highlights once again the levelling that cloud computing is causing. When we see the likes of giants such as MS, Apple and the like have issues of the sort we’ve come to expect from Twitter, it’s a stark reminder that, as Steve puts it;
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
Of course he’s right – cloud computing takes a new level of resource, a new way of thinking and a new model of business. It’s by no way a given that the giants of yesteryear will do it right (but they’ll enjoy being nasty to each other in the attempt).