Apple plays up .Mac subscriptions

Apple revealed that 100,000 people had signed up for the company's .Mac online subscription service. But the number pales in comparison with the estimated 2.5 million people who subscribed to the earlier, free service, known as iTools.

In July, Apple announced it would phase out the free iTools service and replace it with .Mac, which would cost subscribers as much as $99 a year. Existing subscribers have until Sept. 30 to take advantage of a $49 .Mac promotion.

The change caused quite a stir in the Mac community, which showed some resistance to the switch to paid services from those that had been available for free. An online petition, ".Mac Services Overpriced Concerns," has garnered nearly 34,000 signatures since mid-July.

"Apple's move into paid subscription services will be slow on the uptake," said Jupiter analyst Michael Gartenberg. "The lack of a slow transition into the new model, and removing all free aspects of the service, has not gone over well in the core audience. Apple would be wise to at least let users keep their .Mac e-mail address at a much lower cost and then try to transition the user base over time."

Apple has noted that the retention rate when moving to paid services from free ones is typically around 10 percent.

News source: CNet News

View: .Mac Services Overpriced Concerns - Online Petition

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