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Virtualization- Microsoft's "Big Sync" Goes "Live"

Supposed to Synchronize a User's Files, Feeds, Applications and Preferences/Settings Across Multiple PCs

Remember that Mesh stuff that Microsoft chief architect Ray Ozzie was hinting around about a few weeks ago?

Well, Microsoft’s new contribution to the cloud, what we called “the Big Sync,” is now Live Mesh, a preview Web Service that, as previously reported, is supposed to synchronize a user’s files, feeds, applications and preferences/settings across multiple PCs and make them shareable.

Microsoft also calls it a “platform” and some people compare to a WebOS.

It currently only works with Vista and XP machines – access depends on Windows Live ID – but Microsoft has in mind to make the widgetry agnostic and embrace Macs, Linux and non-Windows Mobile smart phones too as well as make it “enterprise-friendly” so companies have some control over Mesh documents.

And, interestingly enough, Live Mesh also provides users with a virtual “Live Desktop” with 5GB of storage accessible from anywhere and integrated with Windows Remote Desktop which requires IE and an ActiveX plug-in.

Microsoft is letting 10,000 testers play with the thing. A broader beta is set for this fall. Developers will have access to the Mesh APIS to write programs that sync and run the same everywhere regardless of whether it’s running in the cloud, browser, desktop or mobile device.

The APIs tap off- and online storage, membership, P2P communications and Newsfeed and data created or changed offline will eventually be synched up once the user goes back online like Google Gears.

Oppenheimer calls it “a significant evolution in Microsoft's Software + Services strategy” since there’s no on-premise application required like Microsoft’s other Live services have demanded.

It also observers that although the “Unified Application Management capability ultimately facilitates the web-based deployment/installation of applications on a user’s basket of devices and computers, those applications also must be machine/device agnostic,” causing it to think that – get a grip now – “Microsoft appears to be stepping away from its historical defensive posture around maintaining control of the desktop.”

Heavens to Betsy what next? An SDK and a business model perhaps.

Microsoft is reportedly considering free, subscriptions, advertising, even micropayments. It’s beginning at the consumer end.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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