Microsoft Announces Web Based Software System, Live Mesh

Microsoft’s Live Mesh, in its current preview form, represents an effort to define the Windows operating system as a platform that spans PCs, the Internet, and Windows-capable devices. At its heart, it is a data synchronization service, but it is also a bid to define Microsoft as the source of cloud computing. Microsoft, it seems, is embracing software as a service, rather than as a reason to commit to Windows.

Live Mesh is Microsoft’s late entry into a rapidly growing market described as cloud computing. The term refers to the movement of software applications and services from PCs to centralized data centers, where they are made available via the Internet. Companies like Amazon.com, Google, Salesforce and dozens of others are building computing centers that will effectively outsource data processing and make it a commodity that companies purchase as they would electricity.

Displayed within a Web browser, the Live Desktop page will not be so much a Web-based operating system, said Jeff Hansen, general manager of Microsoft’s Live Services group, but a control mechanism that blurs the location of documents ranging from MP3 and video files to spreadsheets and text documents. The Live Mesh system, however, is viewed by the company as a software platform in the data center for an evolving array of services, ranging from remote control of computers and electronic devices to data storage. Microsoft also hopes that software and service developers will create applications based on the service.

The Live Mesh platform provides a number of core services, including storage, membership, sync, peer-to-peer communication and newsfeed, accessed through the Live Mesh API. The system uses the same API for client devices and “the cloud” and includes an extendable data model that developers can customize for specific applications. Microsoft will provide more details and a software development kit in the near future. For the moment the user interface is available only in English and the service is being hosted in the company’s U.S. data center. The preview initially supports only Windows Vista and XP machines with support for Macintosh computers and other devices to follow.

Source: New York Times

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