Apple: Oops, some MobileMe e-mail lost forever

In its recently created status blog for MobileMe, which has struggled with downtime since its launch earlier this month, Apple admits it lost some e-mails during a four-day period at the height of the outage.

A poster identifying himself as "David G." continued to stress that restoring full e-mail access to the 1% of users who had lost connectivity was Apple's first priority. Web access for 40 percent of that 1% was turned on Saturday, and feedback was said to be "positive."

The blog post first appeared on Friday evening, apparently at the behest of Steve Jobs himself. It is likely that widespread criticism of Apple's lack of communication on MobileMe's problems in the media had something to do with the move toward transparency. However, it's not clear why the full name of the Apple employee was not disclosed.

At first, the company said that 10% of e-mail received between July 16 and 18 was lost, although a post on Sunday night indicated a different time period for lost e-mails: between July 18 and 22. It is not clear if those mails on July 16 and 17 have now been "found."

Otherwise, full e-mail history had been restored to customers, although messages received during that four day period are time-stamped July 23, Apple said.

"If you need the actual date for particular messages you can take advantage of the ability to view long headers in MobileMe Mail (via Preferences) to peer into the log and find the actual mailing time and date," David wrote.

He promised another status report on the service "early this week."

Users posting on Apple's support forums are reporting the MobileMe situation is getting better, although some say the company needs to do more than just post status updates on a blog for those who may have been adversely affected by the e-mail loss.

Some suggested the company should provide free service to the one percenters, or even put together some type of deal on the iPhone 3G for these people.

But the Cupertino company may have some ground to stand on in refusing to compensate in that manner. MobileMe's terms of service states that "the service is designed for personal use and not intended to be used for commercial business purposes, including, but not limited to, transacting online sales or software distribution via an e-commerce site."

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