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Monday, November 15, 2010

Should MobileMe be free?

What does the future hold for Apple's MobileMe service? Currently Apple charges $99.00 per year for a subscription to MobileMe, which gets you an email address, calendar, contacts, web hosting and 20GB of online storage. Most of these services can be gotten for free from companies like Goggle. I have been experimenting with Google's free Google Apps service, which gives me email, calendar, and contacts as well as other additional services. The big advantage of MobileMe is the seamless integration in Apple products, you can easily sync your email, calendar and contacts with all of your Macs and iDevices over the Internet. I have been able to do the same with Google services, although it was a little more difficult to setup. Also, Apple's web based apps are much more user friendly than their Google counterparts. With all of the free services available today, does it still make sense for Apple to charge for MobileMe?

MobileMe was originally introduced as .Mac, and was included for free with every Macintosh computer. The old service was not as useful as today's MobileMe service, but it was free. I would like to see Apple return to offering at least some of the MobileMe services for free again. Maybe give one year of service for free with the purchase of a Mac or a compatible iOS device. The free service would be limted to email, calendar, contacts, find my iPhone and maybe only 5GB of iDisk space. If you buy a new Apple product every year, the service would continue to be free. Other premium MobileMe services could be offered for an additional fee, such as more iDisk space, online backup of your Mac (Time Machine in the cloud), storage of your music and video library in the cloud that can be streamed to your iDevice, etc... And if Apple ever builds the iLife Home Server, this would tie in perfectly with that as well.

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