By July 25, 2008

MS Plots iPhone Rival, Vista PR, as MobileMe Draws Flak

image Apple has been boosting sales of Macs with its Mac OS X operating system — seemingly at Microsoft’s expense, as more PC users turn up their noses at Microsoft’s Windows Vista. Apple also has had great success with its iPhone, but now that Apple is taking flak because of problems with its MobileMe service, an admiring Microsoft appears ready to go after some of Apple’s revenue.

image In a memo distributed to Microsoft employees Wednesday, CEO Steve Balmer said Apple is good at "providing an experience that is narrow but complete, while our commitment to choice often comes with some compromises to the end-to-end experience." As a result, he wrote, Microsoft will work with hardware vendors to make sure there are "absolutely no compromises."

Amid reports that Microsoft is planning a rival to the iPhone, Ballmer wrote that he wants Microsoft to emulate Apple by controlling all aspects of a product’s design. Reportedly, Microsoft’s iPhone challenger would be built around its struggling Zune media player using Windows Mobile 7.

In the memo, Ballmer acknowledged that changing the public’s perception of Vista is a priority. He said the company will soon mount a campaign to "tell our story."

Meantime, Walt Mossberg, a well-known technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal, criticized Apple’s MobileMe subscription service in a rare swipe at Apple products. Many longtime users of the renamed .Mac service are upset because they haven’t been able to access their e-mail. The $99-a-year service is meant to seamlessly synchronize (or push) data between iPhones, PCs and Macs.

MobileMe, Mossberg wrote, is both sluggish and buggy with Web pages loading slowly. In his tests, syncs between the PCs and Macs he used took 15 minutes. Apple says it’s working on a fix.

He also found problems synchronizing with Microsoft’s Outlook e-mail application. And he said that for changes to appear in calendars, a manual refresh was necessary. Apple had promoted MobileMe for enterprises as Microsoft "Exchange for the rest of us," a slogan that it seems to have dropped.

Other reviewers have had similar complaints about MobileMe.

In response, Apple has given subscribers an extra month of service free. In the United Kingdom, users got two months after complaining that creating a trial of MobileMe resulted in credit-card "holds" of 121 pounds (US$240.43) instead of a half-pound.

Apple has declined to comment, although it acknowledges there are problems on its Web site.

via Mobility Today

Posted in: Phones

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Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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