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April 30, 2008

An understandable description of Microsoft Mesh.

“Microsoft Mesh WHAT?” As usual Microsoft is doing a terrible job Marketing this new platform. (How many years did it take before you actually new what DOT.NET was?)

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I have been doing some reading and listening to a few different people’s spin on Microsoft Mesh. Let me now explain what I understand Microsoft Mesh is and in a way the general (tech) reader is likely to understand.

Let me first start with its main description. “Cloud Computing”. Looking at the evolution of this, other similar platforms you are most likely to know about are.

1. Amazon S3: This is a typical service (At a good price) in that Amazon offer servers and storage. To use these services you need to develop the software on whatever platform you choose, however, you need to develop the scalability into the application yourself. Ie, clustering and redundancy.
2. Google App Engine: This is a complete new spin on supplying servers and storage. In this case, you are required to write your Internet application on a supported language. At this stage Python but more will follow (php etc). However, the scalability and fault tolerance is built into the platform. You do not have to worry about it. This is quite amazing but does lock you into google.
3. Microsoft Mesh: Microsoft Mesh is very similar to Google App Engine. However, Mesh will offer much more then just a service to run your Internet application on. And this is primarily the difference. I can only speculate the API’s for mesh. For example DOT.NET languages etc.

What makes Microsoft Mesh impressive is not that it will be offering a Google App Engine type service, but that it will also be offering a thin client implementation of this service. For example, you will not simply be on any computer connecting to an Internet application running on Mesh. (What is offered by Google App Engine) but you will be going to this Mesh Application via a kind of virtual computer.

For example, if using the Mesh Application and you make files and documents, have your “My Documents” folder.. Any Mesh Application you use from any computer will have this virtual desktop.

This means you can be at any computer and feel right at home. To me this feels like the histroy repeating itself. First we had the X-Terminal, then it was called the thin-client. These technologies never did work for the typical end user, but now with the internet getting faster and internet applications becoming the norm, it is starting to make sense.

Considering all the above, Mesh does not sound like anthing special, however, the magic behind Mesh, and a major reason it is called Mesh is because if installed on a machine, it will allow all connected devices to interact with the Mesh applications. For example. Your USB-thumb drive plugs directly into your Mesh. Your Ipod plugs directly into your Mesh. “Everything is connected” is the Microsoft sogan and what they are aiming for. This is truly an innovation coming out of Microsoft, (A rare moment), and deserves some respect and attention.

Considering the above, it is ideal for the future development of Office as an Internet Application. Office as a service. “SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE”.

Yes this is the WHY.

Watching Microsoft over the years, I feel they have learnt a lot from “GAMING”. One of the most profitable businesses basd on the internet today is online gaming. Millions of end users paying $30 per month to get access to multi player gaming servers. Microsoft has its own Xbox-Live, “World of Warcraft” being another high profile one. The major advantage seen for this industry is that, “You cannot use PIRATE software as a service”. For example, you log into Xbox live with a Hacked Xbox, and it will lock you out or even brick your Xbox.

This leads me into the Yahoo deal. Office as a service is likely to be free with advertising or paid for without advertising and extra enterprise features. The purchase of Yahoo is to purchase the advertising platform and relationships to fuel this.

Mesh will also be a great way to offer a large online application with reduced back end running costs. Ie, the marketing model/advantage behind Google Apps. Off loading much of it to Microsoft Mesh.

Finally, this also explains why Microsoft as gone all Open of late. Literally giving Linux a big bear Hug. The Mesh platform will run on PC, Mac and Linux. Microsoft will no longer care about the operating system (And Piracy), they will still have access to the consumer no mater what they are using. So, don;t fight it, embrace it.

This is the future for Miscoroft and Mesh is the road to get there.

Posted by staff at April 30, 2008 02:01 PM