Wednesday, August 6, 2008

UPDATE: Apple Management Change After Rocky Start For IPhone Service

By Ben Charny


SAN FRANCISCO -(Dow Jones)- Apple Inc. (AAPL) Senior Vice President Eddy Cue is now in charge of the computer maker's newly-overhauled "MobileMe" iPhone service, which had a rocky debut.

Chief Executive Steve Jobs said in a recent memo to employees that the four- week-old feature was launched too early and was "not up to Apple's standards."

Apple has already apologized to those who signed on and gave customers a free month of service. Now it appears the problems have led to a shakeup among those in charge.

An Apple spokesman had no comment, and it wasn't clear who Cue is replacing. Apple Senior Vice President Rob Schoeben had been in charge of the MobileMe launch. He reports to Apple's Senior Vice President for Applications Sina Tamaddon.

In the memo, sent late Monday, Jobs infers MobileMe's troubled start is because Apple took on too much at once. Around the time the $99-a-year service debuted, Apple also began selling its new iPhone 3G and new iPhone software.

"It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time," Jobs said in the memo. "We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence."

Cue, a 15-year Apple veteran, will continue to oversee Apple's iTunes online store and its App Store, which distributes software for Apple's iPhone cell phone/digital media player. His new title is vice president, Internet services. Cue reports directly to Jobs.

"MobileMe" is the new name for Apple's $99-a-year Web-based feature for sending emails, contacts and calendar events between an array of Apple devices. It was overhauled so the iPhone could use the service, and re-launched around July 11.

But it was immediately beset by problems, including delays sending emails to the iPhone, and promised services like file-sharing through email not yet working.

Apple said a "serious issue" with one of company's mail servers was partly to blame. The company also said it has found more than 70 bugs in the MobileMe system.

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