Last week’s Microsoft Live Mesh announcement had many observers dreaming of the day when their PCs, cell phones and other devices would all communicate and share data with each other.
At least one Microsoft partner had an even grander vision — one in which Live Mesh would promote truly open interaction among different devices and platforms. But Microsoft is still stressing how Live Mesh will work with Windows and Windows Mobile (even though it will be able to run on any device). And now that partner, Digipede Technologies CTO Robert Anderson, is calling that strategy “disappointing.”
“… it is a little disappointing that there is such a heavy emphasis on Windows and Windows Mobile,” Anderson writes on his blog, Expert Texture. “I discount the coming Macintosh support because support for non-Windows mobile devices is really the issue. If iPhones and Blackberrys are out of the equation, then the synchronization story isn’t so compelling.”
Live Mesh will run, as Anderson describes it, “as a set of open protocols that anyone can implement.” He had hoped that Live Mesh would run on a modified version of Silverlight — Microsoft’s .NET runtime for Internet applications — which would make it available on any device without the need for third-party development.
As my editor Barb Darrow pointed out during last week’s Partner News Podcast, Live Mesh is starting off as a consumer-oriented strategy, but it will sooner or later have ramifications for business users, the VARs who sell to them and the ISVs like Digipede who develop additional software for them. And if Microsoft plans to use Live Mesh to help compete against Google in the SaaS and Web-based applications markets, more partners should be like Anderson and start paying attention now.