Gotta Boost Headcount (9/30/02)

Say, remember a couple of weeks ago when Apple was crowing about how amazingly popular .Mac had turned out to be, what with a staggering 100,000 subscribers racked up since July? Well, if you found yourself thinking that a hundred grand actually sounded a little on the low side, you're not alone: as faithful viewer Jim Boulter pointed out, that's a pretty far cry from the oft-bandied-about figure of two million estimated iTools users that were out there before Apple suddenly donned its neon flashing PAY US hat. (Of course, what we always wondered was whether that "estimated" figure was really for two million iTools users, or just for two million iTools accounts. We knew individuals who collected iTools logins like they were restaurant matchbooks or those little soaps from hotel bathrooms, so it's a significant distinction.)

Regardless, despite Apple's claim that it's "thrilled" with the .Mac subscription rate so far, we can't help but read a little something into the company's occasional moves to boost those signups. Back in mid-August, iTools users received email from Apple promising "up to seven additional weeks of .Mac free," promising that users who signed up at any time prior to the September 30th deadline would get their first years' memberships automatically extended to September 30th of 2003. And now, as CNET reports, Apple has gone and extended the iTools-to-.Mac signup deadline to October 14th-- so if you were waiting for the last minute to fork over your $49.95, relax; you've got another fortnight to procrastinate. Seriously. Go make some soup or something.

Meanwhile, faithful viewer John hints that Apple may also be backing down on its "No Education .Mac Pricing" policy, most recently repeated by a company rep in a MacCentral article from last Thursday. Despite the fact that, just days ago, Apple "confirmed that educational institutions would not receive a discounted rate for .Mac subscription services," apparently there are rumors floating around that the company may yet announce some sort of plan to make .Mac a viable and affordable service for schools who had previously incorporated free iTools accounts into their lesson plans, but for whom $99 per student represents an insurmountable expense. At least some little birds are chirping that official details might surface as early as today-- so hang in there, teacher-types; rest assured, Apple wants as many .Mac subscribers as it can possibly boast, so we imagine that some sort of educational pricing for multiple school accounts is absolutely in the company's best interest. The last thing it needs is for .Mac to turn into another eWorld...

SceneLink (3754)
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The above scene was taken from the 9/30/02 episode:

September 30, 2002: Apple releases iSync on schedule-- sort of. Meanwhile, the company extends the iTools-to-.Mac signup deadline by two weeks as rumors swirl about a possible education price break, and Apple's board of directors is one of the eight worst in the country, according to BusinessWeek...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3753: Getting An iSyncing Feeling (9/30/02)   Sure, we here at the AtAT compound may be bleary-eyed and sorely out of touch these days ("Is it Tuesday or March?"), but heck, even we know about iSync, that spifftabulous iApp demonstrated last July by a zenlike Steve Jobs as he effortlessly synchronized contact and calendar data between multiple Macs and a bevy of shiny Digital Lifestyle™ products with nary a care in the world...

  • 3755: BAD Board! No Cookie! (9/30/02)   Wuh-oh, prepare for an influx of bad korporate karma! According to a Reuters article that went to press last week, BusinessWeek has just published its list of the eight worst boards of directors in corporate America-- and somehow Apple made the list...

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