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  • Is Your Mac.com Address An Endangered Species?

    July 8th, 2008

    As Apple is poised to launch MobileMe this week for an unsuspecting public who may not have even asked for it, you have to wonder whether this is a key move to help Macs penetrate the Windows market big time.

    You see, Apple seems to have done its level best to make .Mac’s successor look platform agnostic. You get basically the same features whether you’re using a Mac or a PC, which is in keeping with Apple’s larger strategy throughout their product line. In fact, some of you feel the new interface for MobileMe (and even the name, in fact) is reminiscent of Windows, so it’s clear what Apple is doing here.

    You see, before our very eyes, Apple has made all of its hardware Windows-compatible. I can’t imagine anyone would have expected such a thing, but it’s true.

    Certainly, the iPod was the first entrant in Apple’s cross-platform strategy. The large Mac + PC labels on such products as Apple TV are also indicative of this approach. When Macs were moved to Intel processors, it didn’t take a lot of effort on Apple’s part to deliver Boot Camp, to allow dual booting into the Mac or Windows environments, and it spurred the development of such virtualization solutions as Parallels Desktop and VMWare Fusion.

    It doesn’t take much of a stretch to also put the Mac + PC label on a Mac nowadays. Yes, it’s true that Apple did offer DOS cards for some Macs back in the 1990s, using Intel-designed chipsets, which allowed you to use either the Mac or Windows environment. But they were poor performers, and serious bugs were legion.

    But today’s Intel-based Macs make your choice of computing platform a secondary issue, because, under Boot Camp, the Mac runs Windows as fast as any comparably-equipped Windows box, and the virtual machine solutions come close enough that you won’t notice the difference unless you play heavy-duty games or require full processor performance for 3D rendering without any overhead.

    Indeed, a recent deal made by a European publisher to acquire 12,000 Macs over the next two years will give employees the right to choose booting under the Mac OS or Windows environments, depending on their preferences or the needs for their particular role in the company.

    All this seems to be happening under the radar as far as Microsoft is concerned, or in a way that actually helps the world’s largest software publisher. Obviously, when you acquire Windows to install on a Mac, Microsoft makes a big profit, far more than they earn from any OEM manufacturer. The new support for Exchange means that Microsoft can sell lots of Exchange server licenses for the Windows platform, from which they earn large profits.

    Just to voice an off-center possibility, what if one of the reasons Microsoft is hiring people for the Mac Business Unit is to port Exchange to the Mac? Sound odd? Well, certainly, with Apple providing full support for Microsoft’s groupware software in both their mobile and desktop platforms, Microsoft is in a good position to make even more money from this state of affairs.

    However, Apple is also considering the needs of consumers and small businesses for whom Exchange is not just a costly option, but one entirely inappropriate for their needs. That’s where MobileMe comes in and that’s why Apple calls it “Exchange for the rest of us.” They know where their bread is buttered, and offering push email, calendaring and other important features wrapped in a friendly package for a wider audience may actually take the former .Mac into areas where it never was seriously considered previously.

    What makes all this even more fascinating is how well Apple has crafted online versions of key Mac OS X applications to function seamlessly on popular Mac and Windows browsers, even the latest various of the notorious Microsoft Internet Explorer.

    When the Windows users connects to MobileMe, they will be entering an entirely Mac-oriented universe, where such applications as Address Book and Mail will deliver a fully-formed Mac-like veneer.

    Of course, there’s poetic justice in that, since Mac users have long complained about bad Windows ports, where applications looked too much like their Windows counterparts. The first efforts of the failed WordPerfect for Mac initiative were typical of such poor planning, and who can forget the infamous Word 6? What was Microsoft thinking then.

    Today, Microsoft continues to tout Mac-exclusive features and user interface elements that are more consistent with Apple’s user interface guidelines. Even Mozilla has tried to design the look and feel of Firefox 3 to be more consistent with the operating system on which it’s installed, although that move is only partly successful. Take a look at the lack of support for the Leopard-style Print dialog box and its built-in preview feature, for example.

    Whether or not MobileMe will live log and prosper in its new guise is anyone’s guess. More important to me, though, is just how long Apple will allow existing members to continue to use their mac.com email addresses. I don’t know about you, but me.com just isn’t my cup of tea.

    For now both addresses will coexist, but with Apple things can change, often without a lot of notice. So I am willing to predict that you better start sending out those change of email address notices.



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    12 Responses to “Is Your Mac.com Address An Endangered Species?”

    1. Daniel says:

      I’m willing to bet good money that mac.com email will be around a very long time.
      Apple will not take the chance on anyone else holding the mac.com domain, therefore it is very likely registered to Apple for a Really Long Time(tm). Seeing as it is merely a matter of DNS configuration on Apple’s part to support both mac.com and me.com email (they can live in the same physical server) it costs them absolutely nothing to provide both and extends a lot of good will to folks like me. My .Mac pref-pane proudly states “Member Since: Jan 18, 2000”, that’s old school iTools time. I don’t suspect they will take that away from me.

    2. John H. Farr says:

      No way in hell will I keep paying Apple for the service every year if my “mac.com” email address disappears. I don’t use any of the other perks, but as a decades-long Mac user, I want that email domain for my permanent address.

      If it goes, I go. Case closed.

    3. No way in hell will I keep paying Apple for the service every year if my “mac.com” email address disappears. I don’t use any of the other perks, but as a decades-long Mac user, I want that email domain for my permanent address.

      If it goes, I go. Case closed.

      I feel your pain. To me, me.com is a bad thing, although the other stuff MobileMe will deliver seems fine.

      Peace,
      Gene

    4. Jules says:

      Presumably, one can keep their ‘username@mac.com’ but also have exclusively rights to the ‘username@me.com’, at no extra charge on top of the $99/year .Mac (or MobileMe) subscription.

      Do I have it right? Or do I have to scramble real soon to secure my ‘username@me.com’? And do I have to give up my ‘username@mac.com’?

      Methinks I get both, automatically, at no extra charge.

      Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

    5. Your existing account will be automatically upgraded to MobileMe. You won’t lose your existing access, so you can rest and feel secure — for now at least.

      Peace,
      Gene

    6. Jules says:

      I know the existing .mac services will automatically upgrade to the MobileMe services. I’m talking about specific email addresses: Do I automatically get ‘username@me.com’ BUT ALSO KEEP ‘username@mac.com’? Do I have to give up my @mac.com email address? Can I keep the @mac.com email address forever AND still use the @me.com one if/when I want?

    7. You automatically keep the username you have now. Nothing needs to change. You will retain your username and can use it with either mac.com or me.com. However, that doesn’t mean the former will work forever — although I hope it continues.

      Peace,
      Gene

    8. Dave says:

      As John stated, I would also drop .Mac/MobileMe if I can’t keep my mac.com address. I use the other features to some extent, so I feel I get my money’s worth, especially from Amazon for $70. However, the mac.com address means enough to me that I wouldn’t continue paying even $70.

    9. Tom Cooper says:

      I continue to wonder at the selection of the names Mobileme and me.com. The names seem suitable to those under 18. I am beyond three times that age, an attorney, and deal mostly with corporate clients. Why would I use such an account in that environment? I would only use a professional sounding name. With the move to try to make inroads into the “enterprise,” I was surprised that they did not find something with more appeal to the business and corporate crowd while not excluding a younger clientele as well.
      Tom Cooper

    10. adam says:

      I continue to wonder at the selection of the names Mobileme and me.com. The names seem suitable to those under 18. I am beyond three times that age, an attorney, and deal mostly with corporate clients. Why would I use such an account in that environment? I would only use a professional sounding name. With the move to try to make inroads into the “enterprise,” I was surprised that they did not find something with more appeal to the business and corporate crowd while not excluding a younger clientele as well.
      Tom Cooper

      Apple has never ever intended .Mac to be used as a business tool. In fact, e-commerce is specifically forbidden in the terms of service. The service is, and always has been, intended as a consumer level service. Therefore the “professional sounding address” is not a priority. What is a priority is an address that all the Windows-based iPhone users will find palatable, if not exactly impressive. I do wish they had picked another moniker, though. The advantage to the enterprise environment is the forthcoming Exchange support on the iPhone (and presumably better Exchange support in OS X). My question is, if I work at a firm that pays for the Exchange support, and I have a MobileMe account, will both of them push information to/from my iPhone.

      I am paying for my service for the first time in several years since I am no longer a Mac Genius, and the last few years I had my account as an employee bene. I am mostly paying for Back to my Mac, and Push syncing (although I do store data on my iDisk). My .Mac email address has been the only one I have given out for years now, and I intend to keep it that way. I see no reason that Apple would take it away in favor of the me.com address. If they do take away my mac.com address, I will give out another email address that I have but don’t currently use. I can then forward to me.com and still get my push email it fast enough time that I won’t know the difference.

    11. Scott Schuckert says:

      The two primary features I use .Mac for are the “forever” (independent of ISP) email address and the contact and calendar synchronization. The latter is rapidly diminishing in value, as it will shortly be 10.4.11+ only. That’s only three of the six Macs I use. When the email address goes, so do I.

    12. mKizzo says:

      Is there any way I can get a @mac.com address now? I mean if I manage to buy a .mac retail box from somewhere (perhaps old stock :S) will I be able to register my.name@mac.com or will I still only be able to use my.name@me.com now that the service has been launched?

      I, like many others, hate this @me.com thing and trying to figure a way round it. :S

      Any other suggestion/ideas?

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