Apple's introduction of the successor to .Mac -- a k a, MobileMe -- raises the question as to what's taking Microsoft so long to roll out Live Mesh.
There aren't a whole lot of details yet available on MobileMe, other than that it will allow cloud-based synchronization of data and devices. (And will make use of Microsoft's ActiveSync technology, which Apple licensed from Microsoft in order to bring push e-mail to the iPhone, creating its "Exchange for the rest of us.")
From initial reports, MobileMe sounds like a combination of a Windows Live (the various Webified versions of the .Mac point products), Live Mesh (the Mobile Me sync service) and SkyDrive (the Mobile Me cloud-based storage). It is slated to be available to customers in July for a (pricey) $99, which includes 20 GB of storage.
Given that Live Mesh is only in very early test at this point, there's no word on how Microsoft is planning to package/price the service. Windows Live services are currently free, as is the beta of Windows Live SkyDrive, which includes 5 GB of free storage. Microsoft has not provided even a calendar year target as to when it will make Live Mesh available commercially.
Meanwhile, Live Mesh is not Microsoft's only synchronization/collaboration service under development. Microsoft's Sync Framework, a mobile-client test version of which is due in the third quarter, is another.
Last week, at Microsoft's TechEd Developer Conference, I tried to get Microsoft execs to articulate more clearly the overlap/connections between Live Mesh and the Sync Framework. I realize that Live Mesh, as far as Microsoft has been willing to explain it, is more of a consumer-focused platform that will have a developer aspect (via the forthcoming Live Mesh software developer kit).
But why didn't Microsoft's Live Mesh team use the Sync Framework as an underpinning? Wouldn't that have helped Microsoft get Live Mesh to market more quickly -- a la Apple -- than it will be able to do by creating the entire Live Mesh stack from scratch? No word was forthcoming from the Softies. All I could get out of them was Live Mesh is the P2P, out-of-the-box sync solution and Sync Framework is the customizable, developer-focused sync solution. The only place (so far) where the two meet: FeedSync.
Microsoft is (in)famous for pitting its own development teams against one another, allowing the "best" solution to win. I wonder whether this is what is happening with Live Mesh and the Sync Framework. If not, why didn't the Live Mesh team make greater use of what's available and coming with the Sync Framework? Theories? Thoughts?