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Should Apple make .Mac free? 297

Moby Cock writes "The recent display of iLife '06 at Macworld showed that the suite has a very fine integration with .Mac, Apple's subscription-based web portal. In a recent post to his blog on ZDNet, Dan Farber argues that a .Mac subscription ought to be included with the purchase of an Apple computer. There is no doubt that web portals are huge revenue engines, could Apple be missing an opportunity here?"
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Should Apple make .Mac free?

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  • Umm.. No? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @04:59PM (#14466808) Journal
    .Mac comes with webhosting and a variety of other costs.

    If they gave that to everyone who owns a Mac, they'd have significantly higher costs.

    Just the webhosting alone would put a dent in their profits.
    • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hotspotbloc ( 767418 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:02PM (#14466836) Homepage Journal
      .Mac comes with webhosting

      .Mac comes with webhosting that can handle a slashdotting.

      • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:40PM (#14467250) Journal
        Here's the member benefits that come with paying for .Mac [] _Overview_20060109.pdf [] (4.7MB PDF)

        It's one thing to be able to handle a slashdotting , but I think it's another thing entirely to have to pay for ~2% of the PC market's hosting on a regular basis.

        A few of the things that .Mac offers is ad-free web pages + picture & video hosting, 1GB online backup w/a 10GB transfer limit.

        If you take away the $99 a month, how do you recoup those costs without adding advertising? GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo... all have advertising when you access their services.

        My understanding is that .Mac added a lot of additional benefits when they switched away from providing a free service.

        But I don't use a Mac, so I could be wrong.
        • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:42PM (#14467264) Homepage Journal
          I still think they should have a free version. Just give people who pay a lot more.
          • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:3, Interesting)

            You joke, but I was thinking the exact same thing. I would definitely use .Mac if it had a limited free version. I don't need the hosting or another damn email address or any of that... but it would be nice to sync ical, addressbook, and safari over it.
        • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gb506 ( 738638 )
          If you take away the $99 a month

          Well, it's actually $99 per year, or $8.25 per month. Not too bad considering the type of toolset and OSX integration you get. Considering Apple's market cap nowadays it's highly unlikely the company will be swallowed, so my .mac email addrs are safe, and they don't look cheap on a resume like gmail and hotmail accounts do.

          • If you take away the $99 a month

            Well, it's actually $99 per year, or $8.25 per month

            $99 a year was what I meant.

            A lot of /.'ers seem to be forgetting that the original free .Mac was costing Apple money, so they killed it and made it a pay service.

            And like you said about the tools that come with it, .Mac just works, which is what people are willing to pay for.
        • It is $99.00 a year that is $8.25 a month.
    • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:3, Interesting)

      I was actually hoping that Apple would release the server side items necessary to allow independent hosting companies to host .mac-like services. Apple would still be able to sell iWeb as the means for easy desktop publishing and still have it's own .mac accounts.
      • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Smitty825 ( 114634 )
        I've been hoping for this for awhile. Apple could release it to only run on OS X server, there by giving them an extra hardware/software sales, it also becomes a point where ISPs will begin advertising that they support "OS X Sync Services" or whatever Apple calls it, thus increasing the mind share of potential customers.

        Also, I'm sure that there are lots of groups (hospitals, military, etc) where that type of data is considered confidential, and thus can never be transmitted to Apple's servers. By sel
      • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:5, Informative)

        by adamfranco ( 600246 ) <adam@adamfra[ ].com ['nco' in gap]> on Friday January 13, 2006 @08:29PM (#14468598) Homepage
        I was actually hoping that Apple would release the server side items necessary to allow independent hosting companies to host .mac-like services. Apple would still be able to sell iWeb as the means for easy desktop publishing and still have it's own .mac accounts.

        As far as I know, much of .Mac is just a WebDAV server with Apple's own additional authentication added onto it. These instructions [] tell how you can spoof your Mac (with your own IP for into thinking that your own webdav server is .Mac.

        I ended up setting up an 'rdiff-backup'-based backup system instead, so I never bothered to do the .Mac thing, but it looks pretty do-able. I just wish that Apple would make the setting of your own WebDav/.Mac server an easy configuration. Those of us who already paying for our own hardware aren't going to fork over more $$ for .Mac, so just let us do our own thing without hassle.

        - Adam
    • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Golias ( 176380 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:04PM (#14466863)
      .Mac? No. It's not worth $100/year to me, but it is to some people.

      I'd rather not have the cost of three years or so of .Mac service quietly rolled into every Mac purchase I make.

      Quicktime Pro, on the other hand, really should be made free. Charging $30 for a non-crippled version of their media player is a silly nickle-and-dime-us-to-death move, and beneath a company like Apple, which prides itself on charging a few extra bucks for a premier product.
      • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ivan256 ( 17499 ) * on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:06PM (#14466891)
        I don't care either way if Quicktime Pro is free or not, but they should get rid of the damnedable nagscreen that displays every time you run the free version. Show it once or something. You know there's a problem when the most desireable feature of the 'pro' version is the lack of nag screen.
        • There are several ways to get around seeing that screen. Do a little googling, and you'll find more than one reliable hack to get past it, if it bothers you that much.
        • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by pete6677 ( 681676 )
          Many people, such as myself, do not install this piece of shit product because of its super annoying "features", like the nag screen and the constant updates. The fact that it is so bloated and slow does not help either. The Apple developers need to take control of Quicktime back from the marketroids and strip some of this crap out, which would result in more marketshare as people like me become willing to install it.
        • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:5, Informative)

          by E1ven ( 50485 ) < minus author> on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:23PM (#14467053) Homepage
          They did.

          The Nag screen has been gone since Quicktime 7, which came out a few months ago.
          • Sort of... it shows up anytime you try to use one of the "pro" features, like fullscreen.
        • The other silly thing about the free version is that it doesn't have "full-screen" feature unlike all other free media players I know of out there...... you have to upgrade to the pro version for that.
      • The iDisk alone, with one gig of space is worth $100 a year. To keep documents on both computer by just putting a document in it, is worth it.
        • You're kidding, right? Gmail (yes, it's still "limited," in beta, but it's beyond easy to get hooked up) offers more storage and costs nothing. Yahoo! Mail offers a gig for free as well (you can get 2GB and POP access for $20/year).

          I have no doubt that there are other features (particularly integration with commonly used Mac software) that are desirable, but paying $99 per year for the online storage is a terrible deal.
          • You missed the point there, .Mac iDisk is like a mounted network volume. No visible upload or download, files that are in it are just shared quickly and efficiently, and are backed up, and are available from all your machines, and it's treated as a physical disk by everything in OS X...

            If you're like me and have a lot of data and PIM records to keep up to date between different locations and machines, .Mac is well worth $99 a year. For you, you may prefer to do everything manually but I am willing to pay fo
      • You can get .Mac for $68 on Black Friday every year.
    • But it'd also be a bigger incentive to buy a Mac. And once you're using it, you have a big incentive to buy another Mac when it's time for a replacement. Maybe if they made it free for 2-3 years when you buy a Mac -- then once you have to start paying for it, you just might start thinking about buying your next Mac.

      Of course, I think charging more than free is fine if you exceed certain bandwidth or storage limits.

      But I like .Mac and will continue to pay for it (in the last year it seems much more reliabl
    • Re:Umm.. No? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vil3nr0b ( 930195 )
      Valid point but their costs could be offset with the fact that they have the most loyal customer base. Imagine having .MAC for a marketing list. Just think of the potential sales resulting from sending out a newsletter with products to the .MAC base. The email list alone would be worth a fortune to any company let alone one with such a loyal base.
  • Open it back up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by x404x ( 545664 )
    I'd love to see .mac free again, as it is still a very useful service. $99 is not all that much for what is all offered, but Apple is already getting away with charging for it, so eh. Don't think they are going to all of a sudden change their mind about it now...
    • I really liked .Mac when it was free.

      It be nice if they lowered it to a price cheaper than most webhosting, or add a features like having a MySQL database & domain name for the same price.
    • .Mac was never $free, iTools was. They're two different products. :)

    • I love my Mac, don't get me wrong, but I'm such a fanboy that I'll let uncool shit slide. I recall that Apple's old slogan for .Mac was "Free for life" or some such. I had a address back then... Then it all the sudden wasn't free anymore. Whiskey, tango, foxtrot... I'd certainly like to have it free again, even for just the multi-mac syncing and e-mail. I don't need any non-php, non-mysql, non-ssh webhost or anti-virus or all the other bells and whistles, whatever they are these days.
  • Why not... (Score:2, Insightful)

    Sure, include a subscription with a new Mac but with the price you are paying for the Mac in the first place, shouldn't you also have enough money for a subscription? But on the otherhand, I do see a revenue opportunity by getting people hooked on .Mac with a free subscription. Norton Antivirus use to be free too, remember? :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:02PM (#14466833)
  • by th1ckasabr1ck ( 752151 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:02PM (#14466838)
    The article states that there are a million subscribers at $99 each. That's $100 million that Apple makes from .mac - I really have no idea how much money similar ad-based services make, but I would be surprised if more than a few pulled in that much cash.

    Apple is a corporation and they want to make money. I think the real question is: "Why WOULD they set .mac free?"

    • by mysqlrocks ( 783488 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:27PM (#14467088) Homepage Journal
      The article states that there are a million subscribers at $99 each. That's $100 million that Apple makes from .mac

      Sorry to nitpick, but that's actually $99 million.
      • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:55PM (#14467396) Journal
        "Sorry to nitpick, but that's actually $99 million."

        It's $100 million for extremely large values of $99.
      • Ok, we get it mr. I-just-read-off-the-calculator-with-no-regard-for - significant-figures.

        I could go into detail with regards to error, propogated error, and whatnot, but significant figures is a sufficient approximation, especially when you're talking about approximations anyway.

        quick lesson on multiplication, and significant figures:

        there was only one significant digit in "a million subscribers" so there should be only one significant digit in the answer. Unless one of the multiplicands has ZERO signific
    • Apple doesn't say, but I'm guessing that maybe its not current, but all together. I dropped my account because for what they provide, its just not worth it. iDisk absolutely sucks big time. The Homepage editor sucks too. The email was nice but for $100 a year, I should get more than 1 account. Why shouldn't my whole family get email accounts for this price? No, Apple wants to charge you $179 or $199 for a family pack. Crazy.

      No, with gmail, flickr and plenty of free blog services, paying $100 for servi
    • Keep in mind though that $100 million comming in is not pure profit. They still have to pay for the bandwidth, employees, servers, development, and other things I don't know about.
  • It was free (Score:5, Informative)

    by FuzzzyLogik ( 592766 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:04PM (#14466849) Homepage

    Uhm... I don't think this is even a relevent topic. It used to be free. Then it started costing them too much money so they started charging for it. I'm sure slashdot covered it. Oh... yes they did []

  • by yardbird ( 165009 ) * on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:04PM (#14466855) Homepage
    What a strange little article. The guy answers his own question: "Apple doesn't want to see ads for Dell or Victoria's Secret on .Mac." Apple's market is people who will pay extra for things like an uncluttered interface.

    Nor is .Mac a Web portal with all the external content and Web services-a missed opportunity.

    Am I the only one who find web portals pointless?
    • Apple's advertising clearly paints .Mac as the 'ad-free' alternative, so you can definitely see that they are trying to play off of the other portals that require ads to subsidize the costs.

      As for the cost ... the cost/benefit decision is made by the individual consumer and depends upon which of the .Mac services the consumer uses. I use the sync feature to back up my links and settings, use the iDisk as a sort of ever changing 'application library' to use when fixing other people's Macs and use the IMAP

    • "Apple doesn't want to see ads for Dell or Victoria's Secret on .Mac."

      It's also well worth noting that with the tight integration with iLife, especially now that iWeb is available to replace the online HomePage site builder, that people who buy .mac don't even really need to visit the actual site anyway. I know I don't except when I want to check some settings somewhere, like the split between Mail & Web space from my available 1GB.

      When I put up a site on .mac, I could potentially use

    • Web portals are nice if done well, but I've yet to find one done well. I'd like a mainpage of just aggregated rss feeds, with full summarys (not just useless headlines), mix in all the new webcomics that come out, a panel with weather, panel with a calander, panel with whatever other kind of crap people do..and bam, you save at least 30 page loads of checking different stuff you normally dont even bother with but would be interested in if it were easier.
  • Free With Purchase (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plexxer ( 214589 )
    I think Apple should offer a free basic package that would include email, limited photo hosting and iSync support with a decent, but low (say, 250MB) amount of storage space with the purchase of the boxed version of iLife. I haven't used any of the iLife apps that came with my Powerbook G4, but a free .Mac account would certainly give me a reason to upgrade and try them out. I love the idea of iSync, but I'm not willing to shell out $99 for the privlidge.
  • by DarkVader ( 121278 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:05PM (#14466876)
    It used to be free, I know several people who dumped it when they started charging.

    $100 is a rediculous price for what it gives you. $10/year would be more appropriate, if they're going to charge at all.
    • While I personaly don't find .Mac to be worth the price, $99 is not particularly over the top in terms of expence. 1 gig of space, 10 gb transfer, email, backup utilities and video tutorials roled into a package that costs $8.25 a month. For reference the cheapest hosting package I found ($30 / year) gives you 250 megs of space and 5 gb of transfer. It's a mater of preference really.
    • I dont know, from when it used to be free to now, I havee gotten a LOT more from it as a pay service, at least 600 dollars worth of free Apps last year alone.
  • ...what really ticks me off is buying OS X at full price and then being expected to pay more to get full functionality from QuickTime.

    And then having to pay again every time there's a new release, or lose all the functionality I had already paid for.

    I don't think .Mac is worth $99, but I think 'free' is unrealistic too. I'd settle for $50 a year and some actual terms of service (for bandwidth usage) set out.
    • It pisses me off that Apple won't make the current version of Java available on Panther. Tiger's been out less than a year, and I'm not paying for Tiger with a less than a year old laptop!
  • One year free (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rritterson ( 588983 ) * on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:08PM (#14466913)
    .Mac continues to cost Apple money, as users continuously use bandwidth and disk space. On the other hand, software and hardware developing and manufacturing costs are paid for at the time of purchase. That's why I think it's fair to charge a yearly fee for the service.

    Plus, many are arguing that .Mac could go free and then benefit from online advertising. I'd rather have it free from advertising, thank you.

    OTOH, it should come free for, let's say, a year, with purchase of a new computer. 6 months free with iLife or any other software that links to .Mac. It's really annoying to get new stuff and find out you have to buy more stuff to make it work the way it was intended. Apple could easily rise the price by the at-cost value of .Mac to the hardware cost and no one would notice.

    My biggest complaint with the service is that is has exclusive features that don't require .Mac to function. Such as multi-mac syncing. Rendezvous and wifi could easily keep my two macs in sync when they happen to be in the same room. It's stupid to send it to apple's sites then right back down. In fact, rendezvous syncing is much faster, so I could keep larger things like my entire documents folder in sync.
    • Re:One year free (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DECS ( 891519 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:02PM (#14467456) Homepage Journal
      The peer to peer sync you describe (like rsync) would be an entirely different service and product than the sync services used by .Mac; your idea is closer to the Portable Home Directory sync built into Mac OS X Server, which is "free" for people who have access to a Mac OS X Server Open Directory.

      When you sync using .Mac, your bookmarks, contacts, calendar, etc., are kept in a offsite location, and you can also access them from the web, from any machine. With .Mac, after hosing something in my sync engiine, I can upload a clean version from .Mac. If .Mac gets hosed, I can selectively upload/overwrite the broken bit from one of my client Macs. This has proven a livesaver to me several times.

      If I rsync from Mac1 to Mac2 as you describe, and then Mac1 gets messed up, my system automatically contaminates Mac2.

      I think Apple should productize an "Xserve mini" as a household server that provided central file storage, Directory Services, and Portable Home Directories. That would be cool.
    • Re:One year free (Score:3, Informative)

      by SUJovian ( 662632 )
      All Apple computers do come with a free 3-month trial of .Mac, and Apple frequently offers partial rebates on .Mac when it's purchased at the same time as a new machine ($30 or so) []

      They do try to ease new users into the .mac subscription fees.
  • Apple should make the following components free: email, synchronization, limited disk (say 20M) for iWeb, storage, backup, etc. If I needed it, I wouldn't mind paying extra for storage beyond 20M. It irks me to pay $99 per year to (easily) synchronize contacts and calendar between my multiple macs. Synchronization should be free because I've been a good customer and bought enough (two) machines to need the service in the first place.
  • The reason I don't use it is because I already have a free webhost and up to 10 email addresses with my ISP, why would I want to pay for something my ISP already gives me? Now if it were free, I might be advertising apples domain instead of cox! The OS X integration with .mac is nice but pay for it? I'll just ftp my files to the free webhost thank you. $99 is way over priced for place to put family photos and store a few files!
    • by DECS ( 891519 )
      Cox isn't providing:

      Sync services
      Web access to synced bookmarks and contacts
      Various software bundles and other poop

      and if you hosted pics or webpages get any traffic, your site goes down.

      If those don't matter to you, then continue to play with your Cox.
  • by blanktek ( 177640 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:10PM (#14466941)
    with your .Mac subscription
  • by skidknee ( 945750 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:11PM (#14466944)
    I work(ed) at an Apple Retail store, and let me tell you, Dot Mac is a crucial part of their sales, in the sense that, it's a part of their selling structure. They push for "naked" sales, meaning without it being attached to anything, and AppleCare is included along with Dot Mac in the same selling strategy. If you think about it, all the extra Apple add ons are pricey. $349 for insurance on a PowerBook/PowerMac? $99 a year for Dot Mac? I'm glad I got my Dot Mac for free, but in any case, if they are beginning to integrate Dot Mac fully into OS X and the daily uses of iLife and other apps, a 60-90 day trial version would leave most customers pretty reliant on those services. Of course, it only applies to those that really use the services that Dot Mac offers, but with more features, they'll net more users and subscribers. I'm sure the only way Apple will gain considerable ground in market share would be a lowering of prices, but it doesn't seem that way for now or in the near future. By the way, my first slashdot post. Yay.
  • by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:13PM (#14466965) Homepage Journal
    And the fact that I own an iBook has no influence on my opinion.
  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) * <jhummel@joh[ ] ['nhu' in gap]> on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:13PM (#14466967) Homepage
    And then this one part hit me:

    Nor is .Mac a Web portal with all the external content and Web services-a missed opportunity. It has many of the applications that users get for free on other services and with more storage capacity. Apple charges $99.95 for .Mac because it can, but millions of loyal, fanatic Mac users are not using .Mac Mail or iPhoto and instead have well Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Flickr etc. Why should they pay Apple for email and bunch of other ancillary services.

    Of course, in each of those cases, there is something the company gets - Google gets to run ads, Yahoo Mail does the same plus hopes you'll spend more for other services, and Flickr hopes you'll sign up for a pro account (which I did so I'd have family members stop bugging me to email photos - now it's camera -> iPhoto -> Flickr, and they get them).

    Apple could do something similiar with a tiered system, such that:

    Level 1: Free, but you have ads, and ads inserted into the bottom of your emails if you recieve them via SPOP/SIMAP, only X number of photos you can upload at a given time (a la Flickr free account), and you have ads on your photo/blog site.

    Level 2: Medium price - full email functionality, some limits on photo space per month, no apple ads.

    Level 3: Have at it, kids - it's all yours, no ads on your site (unless you want to put them there to earn your own money), big file storage.

    That would get people in - heck, I'd start with the free, and once my wife got into it like the Flickr, she'd have me pay the money.

    Of course, this is all just my opinion - I could be wrong.
    • This is Apple. The lack of goofy random stuff like this is a huge part of the Apple experience. You pay a relatively small amount of money (about 2 lattes per month). It just works. Game over. No meaningless decisions to make, no asking people to decide between three different versions of the same product, heck, no need to work with ad agencies. Simplicity. Functionality. Relatively cheap price. What is problem?
  • by lpangelrob ( 714473 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:16PM (#14466988)
    My current web hosting provider is GoDaddy.

    GoDaddy = $8.95 / year (for .com name), $3.95 / mo. for basic web hosting service (5 GB space, 250 GB transfer). You get some builtin easy-to-setup applications (though probably hard to set up for the average user), 10 MySQL databases and PHP or ASP support. Total = $56.35.

    .mac = $99.95 / year. No domain name, but applications are included, and I presume, easy to use. 1 GB space, unknown transfer... to get 3 GB of space, you have to double your costs. Apps include syncing and backup.

    So if you use the most basic plan of each, it's a $43 difference, whereas if you're working the disk space angle, it's no less than $198 for .Mac.

    The difference is in those applications. Are iSync, Backup, Group Management, Photocasting and one-click publishing important to you? Odds are to most people here it isn't, but to their parents it might be. .Mac is certainly more cost-effective now than it has been, that's for sure.

    • I'm as much a techie as the next guy here, but I honestly want basic services like these to just work. Sure, I could engineer my own webDAV server, publish calendars, all that fun stuff, but for $100/year, it just works.
  • I understand why they didn't, and I know they added a lot of services since then, but as soon as they started charging for it I quit using it. The idea of paying for something I used to get for free just didn't sit well with me. While they added stuff, it didn't seem like the additions were worth $99 more than the free service. I understand this isn't exactly a logical way to evaluate it, but it appeared like they were screwing people. I'm sure I wasn't alone in not even considering to pay for it.
  • Free My Data... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SamHill ( 9044 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:23PM (#14467049)

    As others have pointed out, .Mac costs Apple money for bandwidth, disks, servers, and so on, so not giving it away for free seems reasonable.

    On the other hand, most of the functionality that you get from .Mac could just as easily be provided by free software solutions that might be provided by your employer, your (non-Apple) ISP, or even by you on a machine in your basement. Making it impossible (or at least nonobvious) to share things outside of the .Mac environment is annoying, as is continually bumping up against buttons labelled .Mac that take you to configuration options that only work with .Mac.

    • And you could cobble together versions of iLife that "mostly worked" and were "pretty much" integrated with each other. The whole Apple idea is to make things that actually do work, together, out of the box. For this, you pay around 5% of your purchase price per year, and get a metric shitload of functionality. $8/month isn't exactly a big price to pay for what you get - for most Apple customers that's probably less than 20 minutes salary. Per month. For stuff that just works, is backed up, guaranteed,
  • Every new mac is elegible for 90 days free trial!

    it is an expencive service to provide, they have to make the cost up, and maybe profit too...

    If you think that I am not a subscriber because I have access to a unix server at school that meets my needs untill I graduate.

  • I'm a .Mac subscriber, and reading the suggestions here that it could be free if it showed advertisements makes me cringe. Am I the only one who will happily pay for something useful, and pay a premium to eliminate annoying ads?

    It's like the iTMS video store. You get a decent quality episode of some TV show without ads for $1.99. If it had ads in it, they might be able to offer it for $0.99, but I'd still pay more to get the ad-free version.
    • Hear hear! I am so bloody sick of everything being covered in Ads these days. I'm a .mac subscriber and the lack of Ads is a big deal. I don't want to subject my friends/family to more ads just to view my content.
  • I use .mac for one reason. To backup data offsite and allow remote access. I can keep an offline copy of my work on one macine, and acess it on several others. I can also keep iCal and Adress Book current on both my machines. Is this worh $8.33 a month? I can't really think of a more convient or cheaper solution. I have backed up to other machines, but is was not as often as the backups with .mac are. If I want an archival copy, I can still backup to DVD, which are built in in most macs for the past
  • by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:39PM (#14467241) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's right to suggest that Apple should give away the .mac service for free -- after all it does cost them money. Bundling a year or more of subscription time into the cost of new machines is ridiculous too -- you only need one .mac account if you have 3 computers, plus what about the people that don't want it? You can't have a product that you force-sell to people (even those who don't want it) and expect them to be content with it. Other bundled software like iLife is different because there is not a huge unit cost for apple associated with bundling it as there would be with .mac.

    However, they should SET .mac free by selling the server side as an installable package for OS X server (and other typical server platforms too) .. I mean .mac backup is nice, but what if I have 100GB of data to back up?, what if I have 2GB of email? What if I don't care anything about having a .mac email address and just want to continue to use the one I have had for years? Sell me the server software and I'll buy it. I probably wont be buying .mac.

    At least give me the option to turn .mac off.. Every time I go to the connect menu or use iSync I'm reminded in a not so subtle manner how nice this computer works with a service I don't want. If Microsoft tried that they'd be raked over the coals.
    • I've been asking people i know inside apple for YEARS to add this to Mac OS X Server. I don't see them doing it anytime soon.

      however, there was a guy that came up with a way to do most everything .Mac did with a lot of work and hacking of end-user boxes inside your network.. tho, i think it was two or three revs of .Mac ago.
  • Thats $100 for a very nice network-shared drive (1/2 GB of data, with 10 GB transfer/month limit), web hosting, email hosting, and VERY nice synchronization.

    Its the synchronization and the large network-backed-up shared disk which is why I decided to pay $100 for the service: Being able to maintain universal calendaring etc across several systems is useful.
  • by a_greer2005 ( 863926 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:46PM (#14467309)
    This is not flamebaitjust a question

    What is so bad about asking a fair price for a service? why should apple give it away?

    Look at the features here:
    ***1gb mail/web/media content, not much for geeks but more than plenty for most.
    ***1TB/Mo of throughput -- these two features alone would cost a headty price from a Serverbeach or prohosters or rackspace or any of the like
    ***Syncing, roaming bookmarks: two features that I have yet to see anywhere else on the consumer level.
    *** iLife integration, and photocasting along with .mac hosting -- what geeks have been doing for a long time, made possible to the grandmothers and busy soccer parent set.

    So it aint free, well it is ad, spam, spyware, tracker and all-arround garbage free and it works seemlessly with OSX. Seems to me that a lot of people here are just being bastards about it.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch, the resteraunt has to buy the food it is giving you so it costs someone along the line

    • roaming bookmarks are spelled (and it's free, if there's ads I don't remember them so ...)
    • Ummm.... yes ?

      Ok, to be fair, we're freeloaders who'd like to get something free, tinker with it until wet think we've made it better, then let everyone else pick up the changes we've made for free... did I get that right?

      OSS, mashups, DIY hacks... that's us, right ? You're talking about the crowd that would rather build a MythTV box than subscribe to TiVo, and would rather spend time getting KDE set up just right than use OS X. Yes, we're freeloaders. Duh.

      Well, a significant portion of us are 'freeloaders

  • The integration of Apple's suite of software with .Mac is nice. It would have also netted Microsoft another DOJ lawsuit if M$ had done it with MSN back in the day. Apple can only get away with it because their market share is not as extreme as M$'s.

    Oh, and .Mac is NOT A PORTAL ! Sheesh.

    All that said, I would LOVE to see them go back to a free or 'cheap' version of .Mac that is crippled in capacity so that I can use a minimal set of utilities and such- backup, iSync, etc. No .mac mail or other bandwidth suck
  • Perhaps the ability to have a free email address for life with the purchase of a new Mac. That would be cool.

    But, being a .Mac subscriber, there are a lot of great features to the service that it's nominal $99 a year price justifies. iSyncing is great. The ability to have my bookmarks on all 3 Mac synced is awesome. Along with my schedule and address book. Plus, I could do my email as well. I can back stuff up. And I can even do a webpage with iWeb now.

    I'd happily pay for it again. What does Microso
  • How's this? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wootest ( 694923 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @05:52PM (#14467365)

    Here's a proposal:

    Plain .Mac (1 year), or plain iLife: $60.
    .Mac (1 year) and iLife: $90.
    .Mac (1 year) when bought with any new Mac: $30 first year.

    The baseline bandwidth and space would be lower, and most people who wanted to really get something out of it could pay $30 extra per year to get up to today's standard. This seems like a better solution as currently a lot of people don't want everything .Mac has to offer.

  • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) *
    i want my new iiMac to be free as well.. but that's not bloody likely to happen either, is it>

    Now, if they simply raised the price of every Mac computer $25, then i think that would be the best way to hide the costs of it, thereby making it free.

  • To get the the full value out of .mac, you have to upgrade your iLife every year as well and $178/year ($99 + $79) is a bit pricey. .Mac would be more compelling if I received a free iLife upgrade with it.
  • Their backup protocols and means of transitioning the home directory and user preferences is very nice. It'd be good if I could setup a server at home on my main server that allowed me to sync the basic prefs.

    Is anyone working on a FOSS .Mac-alike?
  • I use it for mirroring my open source projects and the yearly cost is reasonable for this purpose. I don't really use many other .Mac features because I always hopping from OS X to Linux to Windows depending on what I am working on. (BTW, pardon an obvious suggestion: if you also need to use several systems, try what I do: set up a CVS (or subversion) server and keep **everything** you do under source code control: this makes it quick and easy to sit down at any box and get your environment).
  • ...but as a couple others have touched on, what REALLY bugs me is the lack of an upgrade path for iLife and iWork.

    Apple either needs to start rewarding people who buy the retail versions of these "mini-suites" by allowing them to upgrade to newer versions for a lot cheaper or, similarly, offer the same reduced prices to .Mac customers, considering the amount of integration they're working on.

    AFAIK, there is no policy in place for someone who, for example, buys the previous version of iWork a month befo

  • $100 is bad value for what you get. There are good apps in there, like backup and iSync, but they aren't work paying $100 over & over again. You can buy 3rd party apps for less, and pay once.

    I would expect that for the price charged the storage would be much, much better. I have unlimited storage on my Smugmug account, no ads, and pay only $30 per year. That is a good deal. I was happy to pay for it.

    2GB of storage for $100 is a rip off. Give us unlimited storage. Make it really easy to buy great stuff l
  • I've always felt that the problem is that there is psychological barrier when people are required to pay the $99 subscription fee in one lump sum. I think if it were a monthly fee Apple could possibly charge more (say $9.95 a month) and pick up more subscribers.
  • Needs Refinement (Score:4, Interesting)

    by .com b4 .storm ( 581701 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @09:53PM (#14469034)
    I've been using .Mac for the last 6 months, and while it has a lot of great features, they badly need to be updated and refined. For example, your Address Book data is accessible through the .Mac web site, but it is very limited - you're restricted to certain data fields, and even though data such as birthdays, anniversaries, notes, etc. is synchronized to the server, it is not viewable or editable via the web. This seriously limits the usefulness of this feature for me - my need to look up someone's birthday or other info tends to come up more often than the need to say, find their phone number (which is usually in my cell phone). Similarly, the Calendar publishing is very basic. It's read-only, the "location" and "notes" data is not accessible, and if you publish multiple calendars as one, they lose their color coding (e.g. work calendar vs. birthday calendar). I like .Mac, and they've made some nice additions and refinements in the last year or so... But the ability to access my address book and calendar, all nicely sync'd with my Mac, was a key part of my decision to subscribe. The fact that these features are basically untouched from whatever implementation Apple had 3 or 4 years ago is disappointing and very limiting. I've been seriously debating whether to continue my subscription when it comes time. In fact, if it wasn't for the new iLife suite, I would definitely have let the subscription lapse. iWeb looks promising though, and I may yet find other excuses to keep my .Mac subscription...
  • by d0n quix0te ( 304783 ) on Saturday January 14, 2006 @02:51AM (#14469946)
    .Mac gained about 400,000 customers last year to reach 1M customers. That is a fairly substantial growth. At an attach rate of $50-75 per account this represents a $50M revenue source a year. Not to mention people who buy iLife ($79) for its iPhoto, Mail and now iWeb integration.

    Give that away for yet another ad ridden "portal" with a Me-too consumer experience? D'oh.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears