news of 2004-09-18

Editorial: .Mac - Die or Revolve...

First there was iTools, a free set of internet tools specifically for the Mac user. Then, Apple turned these services into a yearly subscription service for 99 USD. When Apple introduced .Mac, 99 US dollars seemed a bit much, but the user also _got_ quite a lot for it. Nowadays, however, .Mac seems out of place to me. Too expensive by far.

Let's take a look at what you get when you subscribe to .Mac: ".Mac is a suite of Internet essentials designed for the Mac user. With a .Mac membership, you can easily share movies, photos, and files; access your email, bookmarks, Address Book, and documents from any computer; and synchronize your most important data between multiple Macs. In addition, your .Mac membership gives you peace of mind with powerful virus protection and backup software." The description goes on to tell us about a whopping 15 MB of e-mail storage space, 100 MB iDisk and .Mac bookmark synching.

While .Mac certainly has the advantage of good Macintosh integration, the basic services are all available separately, and new users might want to look into alternatives.
E-Mail is not that big an advantage anymore for .Mac. There's 1 GB freemail accounts by now - and Google (with Gmail) is out to become the major force in freemail, even while still in a closed beta state. Also, any ISP basically gives you an e-mail account (or many) for free with your internet account, and most also sport POP3/IMAP4 access as well as webmail. Many also include something like 'iDisk' and 'Homepage', although maybe not as user-friendly as .Mac does.

I personally think that .Mac has to either upgrade big time, or it will just die eventually, because of lack of interest. I also think that .Mac is a strange place to place 'Backup'. Sure, backing up to your iDisk is adorable, but why not give Mac users (not .Mac users) the ability to properly back up their Macs out of the box and onto the media of their choice without a separate service? (To make money is the answer.)

If you're looking for a bit of webspace and a good e-mail service with a Mac-centric name, take a look at, they have good, fast and cheap services (9.95, 29.95 and 49.95 USD per year). But: What would Apple have to do to let .Mac survive? Reducing the price doesn't seem appropriate. Upping and revolutionising the services would rather sound like Apple...

[ written by fryke™ on 2004-09-18 at 21:46 CET ]
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