.mac vs. web 2.0

Info Tech

A year ago I wrote about various alternative services I use in lieu of Apple’s .Mac suite of online tools. With Apple’s recent upgrades to .Mac, I thought it worth returning to the subject to see if there is any way I could justify paying the $99 a year for services I’m already getting elsewhere online.

I think that for a new web user who just bought an Apple computer, .mac is certainly a good deal; however, for someone who already has an IMAP account, a photo gallery, a blog, an online backup solution, etc. it takes more careful consideration. In general all-in-one solutions tend not to be as good as specialized tools, but Apple’s tight integration with its desktop applications may still make it the right solution for many users. Below I try to sort out how Apple’s .mac offerings compare with existing Web 2.0 alternatives.

Lets take each of the .Mac services one-by-one:

For now I’m not sure I need .Mac, but if I sign up it will be because of third party tools like iGTD and 1Passwd which make use of Apple’s sync services, and I will be unlikely to use many of the other features. Apple’s all-or-nothing approach to pricing thus creates a barrier to my signing up. I think they could learn a thing or two from Amazon’s more incremental approach which is what makes JungleDisk so attractive.