MobileMe stumbles again, goes dark for nearly 7 hours

Swedish uptime measurement vendor details Monday breakdown; users annoyed

Even though Apple recently upgraded the back-end infrastructure of its problem-plagued MobileMe, the online service was offline for nearly six hours Monday, according to a Web uptime measurement company.

MobileMe users confirmed the outage in complaints posted to Apple's support forum.

Users who tried to reach MobileMe using the URL www.me.com were blocked from accessing the site on November 3 between 2:29 a.m. and 9:25 a.m. EST, said Pingdom AB, a Swedish firm that monitors site performance and uptime. Rather than reaching the site, users were greeted with the message "Not Found: Resource does not exist," said Pingdom in a post to its blog.

Entering the address me.com/mail to access MobileMe's e-mail interface, however, continued to work, Pingdom said. "Since this was mostly night time in the U.S., the problem was not as noticeable there," the company argued, "but in Europe the problem spanned most of the work day and is sure to have caused some confusion among MobileMe users."

Actually, US users of the online storage, sync and e-mail service did notice the outage.

"I was able to successfully log into the MobileMe, however e-mail seems to be down," said a user identified as "gooober" in a message posted early Monday. "I get the following after I typed in my username and password: Not Found: Resource does not exist."

"Same here in Dallas TX....Any word on what's going on?" asked another user, "krosscam," 20 minutes later.

Later in the day, after the six-hour outage claimed by Pingdom, users continued to complain about MobileMe's operation. "I can't send mail from my Mac or from Me.com," said Minnesota resident "Ryan3587" in a message Monday afternoon. "My wife is having the same issues. We can receive just fine, just can't send. MobileMe is showing a green light on everything...not being able to send e-mail is NOT a green light situation!"

Apple has not acknowledged the six-hour breakdown on the MobileMe support site. The only notice for Nov 3 was one that read "Some MobileMe members may have been unable to send MobileMe Mail via the web," for the period 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. Eastern.

MobileMe received a major upgrade in late September, Apple announced last week, that fixed more than two dozen bugs. The service, which launched in mid-July, has been dogged by problems since its debut. As compensation, Apple has extended customers' subscriptions by a total of 90 days.

Apple charges US$99 annual for MobileMe, which provides 20GB of storage space; synchronizes data between Macs, PCs running Windows, and iPhones; and offers Web-based contacts, calendar and e-mail.

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Gregg Keizer

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