.Mac – Is It Still Worth Apple’s Time?

I have gladly continued to renew my .Mac account for 5 years now. This November it comes due again. As it stands right now, I am in the middle of transitioning everything off of my .Mac website. Now, Mr. Jobs has addressed .Mac in their latest shareholders meeting.

In response to a question about Apple’s minimal efforts in updating its languishing .Mac online services — particularly in comparison to the rapid development in Apple’s hardware, software, and retail business segments — Jobs admitted that .Mac had fallen behind. “We have not achieved our full potential,” he said, adding that the company planned to soon release a new set of initiatives for .Mac.

Apple has already announced some new features for .Mac in Leopard, including the sync of Dashboard items across Macs linked under an account, but the potential for .Mac integration to play a major role in both Leopard and on the iPhone has not been given a lot of attention. Jobs indicated Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference would shed more light on the subject next month.

I have defended the ease of use of .Mac for years and all the unique features that it offers. Things like a fantastic Webmail Interface that syncs with my mail program at home, the ability to access my address book in webmail. A very user friendly public folder for sharing files with friends, and the ability to use the .Mac space for backup for my computer.

Where does .Mac start to go wrong? In three of the biggest categories that matter! Space and price and customization. For the basic $99 a year, you get 1 gig of space with 10 gb of monthly transfer. I don’t get any kind of mysql or anything that would allow me to run a blog outside of their iLife software. For an additional $50 a year I can upgrade to 2 gigs of space and 25 gb on transfer.

Let’s compare that to what I get with my hosting service bizland.com.

For $79.99 a year, I get 200 gb of space, 2000 of monthly transfer. I have unlimited e-mail addresses and 5 mysql databases. With that much space, I can backup my whole computer rather than just my computer settings. Not to mention the ability to work with full fledged html. These are things that Howard and others have been telling me, but I was nervous about it being too difficult. It may have been a little tricky at first, but it isn’t so bad. And I can export the remainder of my .mac website from iLife to a folder that I can upload to my qplog server and bingo, there it is!

Mr. Jobs, you have until November to prove that there is going to be good reason for me to shell out another $99 to keep a service that I have only really been using for e-mail as of late, and, even there, I have already transitioned everything over to a qplog e-mail address.

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