Apple’s (NSDQ: AAPL) new Web service called MobileMe, which allows people to sync their contacts, calendar, email and other data between their iPhone and computers, is also experiencing activation problems today. The service, which they explain as “exchange for the rest of us,” has great potential — and ultimately could even prove more valuable to Apple than the App store — but a poor start today could leave a sour taste in iPhone owner’s mouths. AP reported late yesterday that some users were denied access to their accounts, which cost $99 a year. Om Malik at GigaOm also reported problems. Glenn Fleishman at Wifinetnews.com is posting on Twitter that MobileMe screwed up syncing his contacts and now he has duplicates. “The usual Apple crap,” he writes. “They are incapable of getting this right.” When the site isn’t dead, he says, he has 1,000 contacts on one machine and 600 on another, “and both claim they’re synced!” The problems started earlier this week when existing .Mac users got word via the .Mac home page that the site would be offline from evening until midnight Wednesday, as their data was moved over to the MobileMe system, AP reported. But by Thursday afternoon, people said they couldn’t log on to either account.
Still, if Apple is able to reverse this bad start, MobileMe could be the killer-app, rather than the App store as many suspect. It’s way less sexy, but it can be a whole lot harder to walk away from as a customer when you have one service managing your information on your PC, Mac, phone and even their TV. Apple is now doing for the consumer what Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has been doing for the corporate user for years. JupiterResearch Analyst Michael Gartenberg said in an interview: