- 23 Apr 08, 09:22 GMT
Lots has already been written about Live Mesh, Microsoft's newly-announced web platform for devices and applications. You can read our story here.
We'll be getting some reaction to Live Mesh from the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco later today.
But quite a few things struck me immediately about Mesh.
First of all, it's a platform: That's important because it means developers can grow Mesh as a service, adding more devices, more applications. Microsoft promises an "open data model and protocols". Let's wait and see just how open these prove to be and what constraints are put on third-party developers.
The platform will be hosted on Microsoft's data centres: More and more of our digital lives are being hosted on data centres owned by largely faceless corporations, be they Microsoft, Google or Yahoo. Customers are going to be need more robust privacy assurances about our data; how is it stored, transmitted, encrypted, backed up?
If I were to ditch Mesh as a service, can I be sure that Microsoft eliminates any trace of my data from its servers? I'm not saying there's any reason to be suspicious - but we need to ask the questions.
Mesh will work on Windows and Mac: Microsoft looks like it is finally waking up to the fact that it cannot tie the web experience into the use of Windows. Microsoft is beginning to articulate the web as an operating system in its own right; an open platform of applications and services that sits about the traditional OS layer, be in Windows or OS X.
For too long the cash cows of Microsoft, Windows and Office have also been inhibiting its freedom in the web space. Microsoft has been torn between a business model which ties people to specific platforms, and a realisation that the web is turning everything on its head.
In a strategic memo delivered to staff this week Ray Ozzie wrote: "Over the past 10 years, the PC era has given way to an era in which the web is at the center of our experiences."
This might sound like common sense - but it's a huge statement for Microsoft to make.
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