Tuesday, March 13, 2012

iCloud migration foobar infuriates customers

Whilst not directly related to the corporate cloud environment the current shenanigans at Apple are a reminder of some other things that can go wrong when a company tries to force its users down a cloudy path.

For many years Apple have run a very successful cloud-based service called MobileMe to which I am a subscriber it's very useful allowing you to sync  e-mail, contacts, bookmarks etc across multiple devices (Apple devices of course). This required and Apple ID and an associated e-mail address so far so good I have a separate Apple ID that I set up with my regular e-mail address when our first used iTunes so now I have two separate  Apple ID's Upton house will work fine now I'm being coerced into using iCloud up to now this has all worked fine however like hundreds of thousands of other users are now being coerced into using iCloud as the Mobile me service comes to an end; requiring me to update to the Lion operating system, but that is another story.

You wouldn't think this should cause too many problems. However I couldn't figure out how to merge the two accounts. So, going online I typed “merge Apple ID” to find hundreds of posts on the web and hundreds more in the Apple support forum all asking the same question "how can I do this and not lose my iTunes/Apps/Mail/Contacts". 

It turns out that there is no way to merge Apple IDs across iCloud, iTunesStore and AppStore for those  using Mobile Me or who regularly use the DRM enabled iTunes store or the APPStore to buy music and software the synchronisation issues this become a significant problem when moving to the new iCloud.

Here is what happened when "MacRumors" reader Robert emailed Apple CEO Tim Cook about the issue, and quickly received a phone call from an Apple executive relations employee. She had spoken to the team responsible for Apple IDs and acknowledged that they understood the issue and that more people would run into the problem with iCloud. She also repeated that there is no way yet to combine accounts but revealed they are working on it. In the meantime, she recommended picking a single account to plan on keeping indefinitely and to make all future purchases on that account." 

That's the best information we have to date.

Apple failed to run an effective beta programme or to have trialled the systems in a real world scenarios. As a result customers are dissatisfied and are using all sorts of unsupported workarounds.  In consumer world vendors like Apple, Microsoft, et al seem to have the luxury of being able to ignore their customers ire, if & until they get around to fixing it.  Ask yourself this - as a department head commissioning a Cloud service or a service provider building one will you share that luxury?

This debacle should act as a cautionary tale and reminder that Clouds are 'there to meet the customers needs' not demonstrate the 'completeness the vendors vision.' 

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