New .Mac webmail Not Enough Reason to Stay (for me, anyway)

by Todd Ogasawara

Apple is promoting the new .Mac webmail. But, I don't think it is enough to convince me to spend $100 (or $80 through Amazon) to renew my subscription. So, like others in this blog and elsewhere, I think I will vote with my wallet and leave.. .Mac is a great bundling idea and has some interesting features (including the Backup 3.0 software and Garageband Packs) that I made use of. But, with web hosts offering far more than 1GB storage, IMAP4 email, one-click web application installations, and (sometimes) Webdav for $5 to $10/month ($60 to $120/year), I don't feel spending another $80 or so for services I rarely use or get more of already from my website hosting services. My other IMAP email services work fine and have webmail interfaces too. I hope Apple rethinks their .Mac offering and comes back with a compelling bundle. I'll be happy return with credit card in hand if and when that happens.


2006-10-27 03:10:47
.Mac was a nice idea, put it's about the worst product coming out of Cupertino for years now, with iSync the only selling point (for me, anyway).

While I understand why Apple wants to _sell_ .Mac, I think it's time they adapt iSync to work with any WebDAV filespace (including OSX Server) - I was never really happy with storing my Bookmarks (and, potentially, the KEYCHAIN) on a site I don't have control over.

2006-10-27 04:11:08
Enough already! I cannot hear it anymore. Obviously there are more than enough customers (including me) that are very satisfied with .Mac. The point is not that you can do all those things using other tools or ISPs. The point is, .Mac is Apple and it feels like it. Where else is IMAP, WebDAV, Syncing and Backup so easy? Where else do I get all those things instantly just by paying my share. No configuration, no reading. etc. It is Apple - it just works! That is the point.
2006-10-27 04:56:29
There are a few things about .Mac that are very compelling to me: 1) I don't want to change my email address again (got a address); 2) When you own multiple Macs, .Mac synchronization is a godsend! Having the ability to keep addresses, bookmarks, mail, files all synchronized between multiple Macs is awesome. I depend on .Mac daily. I use iDisk, address book, bookmarks and mail synchronization daily. The backup software has also saved me in the past when I had a hard drive failure. All my data was backed up. Now, Leopard will make the backup program irrelevant, but I still depend on .Mac for synchronization. If I owned a single Mac, then I would not stick with .Mac. Apple does need to come up with more reasons for single Mac households to purchase the .Mac service.
Paul Naro
2006-10-27 04:57:09
My sentiments exactly. I recently decided to drop .mac as the only thing I was really using it for was as off-the-local-network mail client. It came in handy for testing once in a while, but Gmail handles that function just fine.

If/when Apple comes up with a more compelling package I too will revisit it.

2006-10-27 06:29:14
I've decided to stick it out for another year and see if they add additional services. One critical one for me would be online editable calendars. They use to always have a free software program every year (usually a game or something). Whey don't they do this anymore? Another option would be a discount on an iLife/.Mac bundle. with the integration of iWeb, iPhoto etc with .Mac, this would make a lot of sense.
2006-10-27 06:33:15
I agree. I just tried the new webmail and Gmail, for example, blows it out of the water. What I didn't like immediately:
- In two pane view, you have to double click a message to open it.
- No smart folders or tags
- POP3 retrieval only works with standard POP3 port. There is no way to turn on SSL or specify a non-standard port which means no way to connect to Gmail on POP3.
- No ability to configure it to send email from other email addresses.
- No filters or actions
- In two pane view, in Firefox 2.0 at least, hovering over a message changes in the two pane view changes the cursor to a text edit cursor.
2006-10-27 07:11:00
.Mac is indeed losing some of its appeal. I used to think .Mac was a good deal when they offered antivirus software with it, as it would essentially deduct about $30 from the yearly fee. I hope Apple puts a good antivirus tool in the deal again.
Mr. Sharumpe
2006-10-27 08:11:27
The biggest problem for me is losing out on the address. Do I use it? Not really -- just for my .Mac services (sync, mostly) and as my AIM login. But I happened to be at MacWorld the year Steve announced -- heck, I can't remember what it was called before .Mac now -- whatever it was, and signed up before the keynote crowd had gotten out. So it's my name (first initial, last name), no number, and I know I'll never get that again.

Compelling? Nope. But as a nerd, it's hard to give up. I'm hoping to have decided it's not worth it by my renewal date.

2006-10-27 09:29:08
I agree. The iDisk transfer speed is embarrassing, and even though the new .Mac mail web interface is an improvement, they are still missing big ticket items like "rules" or "filters" which crazily enough are an option for .Mac users to sync. What is the deal Apple?
2006-10-27 10:46:12
I seem to be one of the few people left who think a .Mac account is worth it, and guess what? I've never used my .mac email address, I've never used my web space and I've never used my iDisk.

As an explanation, here's my scenario. I was working 'away', and the hard drive on my trusty AlBook failed. I replaced the hard drive, but the complete system backup I had was of course safely at home, leaving me with a blank canvas.

To re-bookmark all my development projects, re-set up all my FTP services, reset up all my email accounts and rules would have taken me close to a full day. Just to get my laptop into a state I could continue the work I was there to do.

A full day at a real world value of over $100 an hour. I'll estimate a rough cost to me of $800 in lost revenue just to get my laptop in a usable state.

However, I downloaded Backup and restored every single one of the aforementioned settings in around 10 minutes.

The cost: $99 a year.

I can legitimately keep my .Mac account in action, without *ever* needing it for another 7 years and still have saved money on this one single incident.

And that, to me, is priceless.

2006-10-27 12:25:51
Yes, I am done with .Mac ... syncing is terrible, not much storage space, and the IMAP mail is unreliable. Time to move on.
2006-10-28 05:42:45
The complimentary VersionTracker tie-in has now gone - I got a promotional email from VT earlier this week trying to interest me in a direct relationship (which I may well take up). I'm hoping that some equivalent deal replaces it.
2006-10-28 18:34:55
I guess pro-.Mac comments aren't welcome here. Your way or no way, huh?

Oh well, one less blog on my daily list.

ben at benjamieson dot com

David Leader
2006-10-29 15:01:50
The genesis of .Mac was either a cynical come-on or a business error, depending on whether one is being charitable or not. It was originally free: at that time everyone else was offering free webspace, so for whatever reason Apple decided to jump in. It was fun to have a .mac email address, in addition to all the others many of us had (Yahoo, ISP, work, and more recently gmail), but I when Apple decided to charge, for me at any rate the .mac address wasn't worth the cost. I don't want web backup - I do it my way, and in any case it was unbelievably slow, and none of the other stuff interested me. I guess there are people whose ISP doesn't provide email and webspace, who use iWeb, and who find the peripherals of use and worth the money, but I don't know any of them. I also imagine that the uptake of broadband has altered many people's web/email situations. I suspect that .Mac is in terminal decline. Not a bad thing. Apple should stick to the things it does well, or to providing services for Mac users that it cannot rely on others to do.
2006-10-30 16:38:34