Apple restores partial access to MobileMe e-mail

Full access to MobileMe's e-mail will be restored within another week.

Apple late Friday announced that it had restored partial access to blacked-out MobileMe e-mail accounts, but acknowledged that some messages sent to those accounts had been lost during the week-long outage.

Full access to MobileMe's e-mail will be restored within another week, Apple said.

In a posting under a new "Status" section of the MobileMe home page on Apple's Web site, an unnamed employee said he had been directed by CEO Steve Jobs to keep users up-to-date on the outage and efforts to restore service.

The long message -- an unusual step for Apple, but perhaps prompted by the fact that those affected are not able to receive mail at their mac.com or me.com addresses -- summarized the problem, which Apple blamed on a balky server. The post also reiterated Apple's claim that only about 1% of MobileMe subscribers had been blocked from their accounts.

"As of today, a team was able to restore limited Web access to those accounts so the affected members can use their browsers to read mail that has arrived since last Friday (though not before) as well as send and receive new mail," the Friday message read. "The team has already begun rolling out restoration of full access for all the accounts and expect[s] to finish by the end of next week."

The Apple employee confirmed the loss of some messages sent to the affected accounts in the two days prior to the outage, which began for most users on July 18. "We particularly regret to report the loss in the affected accounts of approximately 10% of the messages received between July 16 and July 18," Apple said.

Apple also updated a support document late Friday night to flesh out instructions to users. Until the new messages were posted to the Status page of MobileMe, the support document had been the only official word on the incident by Apple.

The document noted that the partial service restoration "does not provide access to any e-mail messages received or saved before the outage began on July 18," but promised that most would eventually be restored to users. However, the support document echoed the warning in the Status message about lost mail. "While the vast majority of your e-mail messages will be fully restored, a small percentage of e-mail messages in the affected accounts have regrettably been lost. This includes approximately 10% of messages received between 5:00 a.m. PDT on July 16 and 10:20 a.m. PDT on July 18. We sincerely apologize for any e-mail messages you may have lost."

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