Why Apple’s got the “.Mac/iLife 2008 rebate thing” ass-backwards - Macenstein

Why Apple’s got the “.Mac/iLife 2008 rebate thing” ass-backwards

Yes, my loathing of Apple’s .Mac borderline bullying tactics is well documented, but because I am half Vulcan, I can periodically detach myself from my emotional feelings towards .Mac for brief periods of time in order to evaluate the service objectively. To that end, I have analyzed Apple’s latest .Mac promotion and found it to be ass-backwards. Here’s why.

According to IGM, Now through May 26th, .Mac owners can pick up iLife 2008 for $48.98, a savings of $30 off the regular retail price. However, what Apple should REALLY be doing is offering iLife 2008 users .Mac for $30 (or more) off ITS regular $99/ year price tag. The reasoning? Aside from the yearly speed improvements, there’s not all that much incentive for anyone currently using last year’s iLife to upgrade to iLife 2008, unless they already own the .Mac service. Pretty much anything cool in iLife 2008 revolves around having the $99/year .Mac service as well.

I would also wager that there are less than 3 people on the planet who own .Mac and do not have iLife 2008 already. Having .Mac is the ultimate Apple-fanboy status symbol, a sign that tells the world you already own every other product Apple has produced. It is much more likely that Apple would do better to run the opposite promotion, discounting .Mac and enticing current iLife 2008 users (which number in the millions now, thanks to recent Mac sales booms) to get in on the .Mac goodness that Apple makes you work a little too hard to find out that you need in order to use many of iLife 2008’s features.

I’m still holding a small candle of hope that one day Apple will bundle .Mac into the iLife suite (at no additional charge) and move the whole suite to a subscription-based model at $79/year. But of course the problem with holding a candle is you inevitably end up with scorched, wax-covered fingers.

22 Responses to “Why Apple’s got the “.Mac/iLife 2008 rebate thing” ass-backwards”
  1. Jeff says:

    Dr., I have had a .mac account since 2006. No I don’t like the $99 price tag. However, I do use many of the features especially the web features. Could I get the same thing cheaper or even free with other apps? Sure. But for me it is all about ease of use. It just works, plain and simple. I am able to do everything I want to and it is easy. I didn’t even have to read the manual. Having used macs for the past 17 years, I just knew what to do since it is mac easy. I wasn’t “bullied” into buying a .mac subscription. Apple offered a product that works and is easy to use so I bought it.

  2. Justin says:

    You hit the nail on the head. I’m a .Mac user and while I don’t use all the features it offers, it’s integration with iLife is very nice. Enticing current iLife 08 users to subscribe to .Mac so they can reap the full benefits of the software makes total sense. You can run a simultaneous promotion to upgrade AND order .Mac for a discount as well to drive upgrade sales. But you’re right and I agree 100%.

  3. Kelly says:


    “The ‘Doc’ doth protest too much, methinks”. – (Act III, Scene II).

  4. Alan says:

    Preach on, Doctor Mac. Apple does have this bareassed backward. It’s more incentive to do the reverse, and it would make Apple more money in the long run. Apple has been weird about .Mac from the beginning, but I’ll give them another chance at WWDC to see what they’ve cooked up.

  5. M Sharp says:

    I was bullied into buying .Mac. I’ve admitted my problem—seeking out people who manipulate and then being manipulated by them—and entered a 12-step program.

    Just published pics of our first meeting using Web Gallery.

    By the power of Jobs (my higher power), I’ll lick this problem yet…

  6. Dee says:

    I have had .mac for years, since it first came out. I am confident Apple will not lose my stuff and I keep copies of all really important documents on my iDisk. iWeb pages are one of my favorites. You can get .mac at Amazon for quite a discount. I never buy full price. I even have a family pack. It is well worth the price.

  7. Ethan says:

    I like it, except the part about thinking of iLife as a subscription. Slightly modify that to say that every copy of iLife comes with a year-long .mac subscription and I’d be on board. You should have the option of purchasing .mac on it’s own if you want to stick with an older version of iLife.

  8. Mark says:

    .Mac is worth it to me for syncing alone. The iDisk and galleries are useful, too, but auto-syncing address book, bookmarks, calendars, and keychains is worth more to me than $8.30/month.

    It’s not a status symbol. It’s not a black MacBook. You haven’t figured out how to make use of it yet, or maybe you really don’t need syncing or easy web publishing, and that’s fine, but you’re delusional about its value.

  9. gr.jakko says:

    For the 5th year in a row I renewed my .mac subscription. While every year this little voice in the back of my mind says “But you only really use the mail address… pretty expensive for just a mail address…” And every year I ignore this little voice and think, ahw what the hell, this year they’ll come up with some really cool features, let’s hold on a little longer…
    Or maybe I’m really just too attached to my .mac account.

    And this year I also threw in a family pack.

  10. bc says:

    With all the free alternatives out there, .mac is overpriced except maybe for those who own more than one Mac. I’ll not be renewing my free trial unless it’s drastically upgraded or somehow combined with other Apple products. If it were somehow bundled with iLife and OSX updates, as suggested above, and with AppleCare, I bet Apple would make more money in the long run (because all those items would offer greater value) and build even greater customer loyalty.

  11. thefreemac says:

    You are dead right, Doc.

    I use iLife and .Mac every day and wish Apple would do more to get them into the hands of users.

    I find .Mac good value as I use the web-site features and I have never had an issue. Compare that to my partner’s business website and email on Tiscali, costing us $80 a year and .Mac seems like a bargain.

  12. Philip says:

    I strongly recommend having someone else pay for your .Mac subscription. Then what’s not to like?

  13. I understand why this has turned into a discussion of .Mac’s usefulness/ value. But back to the point. Does anyone think it would make more sense for Apple to be discounting .Mac for iLife users instead of/in addition to discounting iLife for .Mac users?

    -The Doc

  14. Peter Morgan says:

    Yes you’re right they really should be discounting .Mac itself, that makes much more sense, use it to drive the sales of iLife as a package with .Mac. How about a year’s free subscription to .Mac with every new Mac purchase?

    In the UK .Mac is the equivalent of $134. Not exactly an impulse purchase.

  15. Raz says:

    “I would also wager that there are less than 3 people on the planet who own .Mac and do not have iLife 2008 already”

    I DO NOT have iLife08 yet, but i’m on my 2nd year of .Mac
    two more ppl and u lose that bet 🙂

  16. Raz,
    I am not worried. You are one of a kind.
    -The Doc

  17. Dee says:

    I have .mac and do not have iLife 2008. I don’t see anything special in iLife’08, but I may get it now that they are again offering that $30 discount. I find the .mac syncing feature invaluable as I have 3 macs and use that to keep my calendars, addresses and bookmarks instantly synced. So, now it is proven there are more than 3 people out there.

  18. Dee,

    I think we still need one more…

    -The Doc

  19. “I would also wager that there are less than 3 people on the planet who own .Mac and do not have iLife 2008 already. ”

    I am another ..

    I use the .Mac Syncing fetures between multiple Apples & the phone .. Mac . either has to little storage & not enough band width or it is over priced by 50%

    But have no use for iLife 07 or 08 … I tryed but just couldn’t intragate any of the suite into work flow … I tryed with each new laptop & haven’t found the nitch ….

  20. gr.jakko says:

    If iLife and .mac where more tightly integrated so that they couldn’t live without each other, it would make perfect sense to offer the “physical” product at a reduced price and charge you for the subscription. That would even warrant putting everything in a yearly subscription package, software and subscription.
    But that’s not what the iLife/.mac relationship is about. They are two standalone products that complement each other in big way.

    It feels like a half hearted attempt to give your .mac subscription extra (perceived) value, like most of the discounts and free software Apple offers you. It sounds like a good deal, but when you think about it, it’s just a salted nut thrown at you to make you feel content. “See, they do care about me… they gave me a peanut. I already have a peanut, but if I didn’t I probably would’ve eaten it.” So you nibble on that thought and you’re happy for a few minutes.

    If you keep that in mind it makes perfect sense to offer iLife at a reduced price, from Apples standpoint that is. You know, keep us poor bastards happy.

  21. Gussy says:

    I just went to re-order a lost MBP (long story), and got offered a $30 discount on .mac services. Interesting?

  22. Raz says:

    That’s how i started w .Mac – it was offered free when i bought my MBP

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