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4/23/2008
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Web 2.0: Microsoft's Live Mesh Aims For Simplicity

The company will use open standards like Atom, JSON, POX, RSS, HTTP, REST, and FeedSync to allow for the "it just works experience."

Despite Microsoft's reputation of being a closed-wall company, it is adopting simple protocols in its Live Mesh, synchronization strategy.

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The company on Wednesday highlighted its new cloud computing technology in several stages, which culminated in a keynote presentation by general manager Amit Mital during the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. Microsoft's latest synchronization platform is expected to allow people to easily and automatically synchronize content and data on one PC or device with the Web and any other PC or device. Mital pointed to several Internet-connected peripherals as potential spokes in Live Mesh's hub strategy.

"Two years ago, we looked at lots of devices including computers, mobile phones, digital cameras, media centers, and picture frames. These are all connected to the Internet at birth, but not to each other," Mital said.

Unfortunately, the dilemma for consumers is that adding a new device to the mix makes reading content from one device to another difficult, he said. Microsoft's fix is to use open standards like Atom, JSON, POX, RSS, HTTP, REST, and FeedSync to allow for interoperability.

Mital reiterated that Live Mesh initially will be available on Windows-based platforms, but will expand in due time to the Macintosh and additional mobile devices.

"We wanted to create the 'it just works experience,' with the data, devices, and the applications that matter to you," Mital said.

Other Microsoft technologies sure to play a part in Live Mesh include its rich Internet application Silverlight and its Windows Live service.

But Microsoft's strategy doesn't seem to include some of its established platforms out of the starting gate. The company's diagram of infrastructure services and services platform mention service provisioning and management as well as synchronized storage. The base then holds up Microsoft's MeshFX protocols and APIs as well as its cloud and client Mesh Operating Environment or MOE. Though not mentioned by name, synchronization using other Microsoft products such as Office, SharePoint, and Microsoft Dynamics are almost shoe-ins to link with Live Mesh.

Mital also extended a hand to developers by mirroring chief technology officer Ray Ozzie's pledge that the Web is at the center of Microsoft's experience and not the traditional PC.

"Microsoft is a platform company," Mital said. "The possibility of the platform that we can create together will connect the best of the Web and these devices."

If the challenge for the enterprise will be to see how quickly Microsoft can translate its new Web strategy with its existing business-centric products, Microsoft might just be betting on conventional wisdom and developers to help show the value.

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