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Tuesday, August 05, 2008, 05:30 am PT (08:30 am ET)

Steve Jobs confesses to poorly planned MobileMe launch

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is admitting that his firm bit off more than it could chew with last month's simultaneous product launches, which resulted in a MobileMe Internet service that was pushed out prematurely "and not up to Apple's standards."

In an email to employees on the matter Monday, seen by ArsTechnica, Jobs fessed up to launching MobileMe without adequate testing and offered suggestions on what could have been done differently. Instead of launching the "monolithic service" all at once, Apple could have rolled it out in pieces, first launching over-the-air iPhone syncing and then introducing each new web app one at a time, he said.

"It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store," Jobs said. "We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence."

The Apple co-founder also announced changes to the company's management structure that will see Eddy Cue, formally vice president of iTunes, oversee all Internet-related services, including the iTunes, the App Store, and Mobile Me. Cue will now report directly to Jobs.

"The MobileMe launch clearly demonstrates that we have more to learn about Internet services," Jobs told employees. "And learn we will. The vision of MobileMe is both exciting and ambitious, and we will press on to make it a service we are all proud of by the end of this year."

MobileMe has been plagued by a variety of issues since launching on the eve of July 10th. Even after axing some planned features, Apple struggled for days to get its new suite of Web apps up in working order.

Those issues were later compounded by intermittent line problems, syncing bugs that remotely cleared the contact lists on iPhones, and a mail server crash that left some subscribers locked out of their email accounts for over a week.

On July 16, Apple apologized for its MobileMe missteps by offering subscribers a free 30-day extension on their yearly subscriptions to the service.