If you’ve still got MobileMe, consider yourself on a virtual sinking ship. MobileMe, the Apple $99 – $149 subscription-based grouping of online services and software, is now no longer accepting new users (as of June 30, 2011) and is soon to discontinue service. Of course, recent subscribers are being offered refunds for their paid subscriptions.

MobileMe offered a host of services that most business owners found appealing and useful, including:

  • Locate Phone: Tracking your phone through any other Apple device, such as your Mac.
  • Storage Capabilities: Individual plans included 20 GB of email/file storage and 200 GB of monthly data transfer.
  • Calendar and Address Book: MobileMe offered synced address book, contacts and calendars that were all updated if one user device’s contents were updated or edited.
  • Image Gallery: A photo and video gallery that could be uploaded to the web through MobileMe’s web page.
  • iDisk: Online storage solution accessible through the main browser. Contents could be password protected and shared by email.
  • iWeb Publish: The ability to publish websites and web pages hosted on their MobileMe account.
  • Web Apps: Use of desktop apps through MobileMe’s web browser.
  • iChat/Aim: Standard iChat and AOL instant messenger access.

What Caused MobileMe to Fail?

The problem with MobileMe was that it wasn’t “smart.” It didn’t “push” information when new devices were added on or synced. Users also experienced a host of other problems, including ridiculous lag time for simple processes, duplicate calendar entries, inaccessible image files, difficulty with video uploads and iDisk problems when run through a PC.

MobileMe was good…but it wasn’t great. Back in 2008, Steve Jobs admitted that MobileMe was launched too early. As a result of MobileMe’s failure, there’s a brewing two-fold problem. First, many current MobileMe subscribers are at a loss for where to go next and are questioning how quickly they’ll be able to adapt to the next platform and whether it’ll offer them everything they’re accustomed to. Secondly, those barred from subscribing to MobileMe are looking for what direction to head in instead.

Google Sync Advantage over Mobile Me

Google Sync stepped up as the leading competition for users who wanted to abandon MobileMe. Google’s enviable syncing abilities came included with Android phones, making it easy to get connected; all you had to do was log into your Gmail account. Overall, Google made it tough for smart business owners to stay with MobileMe by offering:

  • Better Email: MobileMe offered an @me.com address, which makes you look as outdated as an @aol.com address. Google also offered more free storage.
  • Controlled Contacts: Google lets you control which contacts you add to your address book, rather than adding anyone you email.
  • Free Service: MobileMe plans started at $99/year whereas Google is free. With free iPhone integration on top of it all, “free service” is really the only reason you needed to ditch MobileMe.

But with no current online storage service, Google users would have to refer to Dropbox instead. However, the rumor mill has it that Google’s actively working on fixing this.

iCloud: The Next Big Thing

As for Apple, it’s been diverting its attention to the newest and arguably best web development in the last 10 years…cloud technology. Where MobileMe was labeled Apple’s worst technology, the iCloud is revitalizing what technology is really supposed to be: the ability to access anything from any of your devices. Think of it as an information “cloud” that follows you anywhere you go. For business owners this means increased speed and efficiency at no user cost.

Unfortunately there’s some bad news for former MobileMe users who also happen to be PC users. Microsoft doesn’t seem to be updating its software to adopt the iCloud, which means you’ll have to resort to third party developers to synchronize and back up your data.