Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, July 17, 2002
# 10:51:00 AM:

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Love the products. The company, though...

I'm a long-time Mac guy, and before that I was an Apple II guy. Macintosh computers and the Mac OS are genuinely cool. Apple Computer, the company, however, is often arrogant and sometimes makes stupid decisions. Like today.

Among a bunch of nifty announcements of new iMacs and iPods and operating system software, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the company's up-to-now free iTools e-mail, Internet storage, and Web page service will be replaced by ".mac", a pay-only $100 (U.S., so $150+ for me in Canada) per year subscription service. Old iTools accounts will be deactivated at the end of September.

Dumb dumb dumb. Here's what I wrote to Apple:

I've been using Apple computers for twenty years. I've had an iTools account since they were first available. I've recommended them to my friends and colleagues, and taken good advantage of iDisk and HomePage services. Replacing iTools with the paid .mac service is a mistake. Nothing Apple has ever done (including ignoring "Apple II Forever," ditching the clone makers, crippling processor upgrades, and erasing hard drives with an iTunes installer) has been so annoying.

I have no issue with making $100 (or $50) per year .mac services available to those who want them. I could even understand preventing anyone from creating new iTools accounts, but giving those who already have them (even if they were set up two days ago) less than three months to pay up or lose the services you provided and advertised as free is bad public relations, and not smart.

For those of us who only use the e-mail and HomePage portions, for instance, the pricing is prohibitive -- most particularly if the asinine mail filtering and HomePage bandwidth limitations remain in place. I'll simply have to find a way to move my HomePage sites somewhere else. There is insufficient value in .mac for me to pay what you're asking. Apple will lose a lot of goodwill over this decision -- unless you change it.

At the very least, Apple should provide a way to redirect e-mail and HomePage sites to other locations. This decision is going to make a lot of work for me, but I'd rather do it than pay Apple for their stupid decision.

I expect (and hope) that the uproar from users and the press will be sufficiently nasty that Apple will have to reconsider. They'll come out smelling bad no matter what, though. And I'll certainly be figuring out how to migrate to another host for the movies and photo galleries I've had posted at iTools up to now.


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