If there is one area that Google exceeds in, it is in the provision of free, efficient and effective e-mail. The Apple alternative to Gmail is of course MobileMe. How do these products match up against each other.
Firstly, I have to say that the two programs are not directly comparable. This is because of several key differences in the way they operate and the services that you are provided with access to, following registration/payment.
I’ve observed that people can have an almost obsessive relationship with Gmail. The archiving and storage of ALL e-mail is something that goes against the ingrained ￼behaviour that was hard wired into the majority of us in the past, and sometimes still in the present, if you work for a corporation that limits the size of mailboxes. One could say that Google almost conceptualized the idea of archiving all e-mail and, if not, certainly drove it into the mainstream, forcing other e-mail providers to look at the limitations of their own services.
Apple’s MobileMe service can give you plenty of storage. Once signed up￼ for a personal plan, you are awarded 20GB of space. This is adequate but limited. Google offers around 7.5GB free and can offer a $5 per year subscription for an extra 20GB. MobileMe charges users $99 a year. Could the 20GB limit not be expanded to obliterate the Gmail storage capacity?
MobileMe also offers other goodies. Push E-mail. Syncing of Calendars, Contacts and Bookmarks. And iDisk, the online storage area. But Google can offer Calendars, Contacts, Bookmarks and Docs that can all be synched via third party apps. So where is the advantage?
Is it iPhone or iPad Geolocation?
It may all come down to advertising. With Gmail your conversations are broken down, analyzed and delivered along with contextual placement of advertisements, albeit privately. With MobileMe, there is no advertising but you are paying for the privilege.
So is it time for Apple to launch a tiered price structure for MobileMe? Perhaps with free email to a certain extent with other services tagged on.
Asking users to pay $99 may hurt the product.
Asking users to sign up for free and pay for other services if they want them… a good way to maintain Apple loyalty?